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BLF targets tradespeople with asbestos awareness campaign
Published:  25 September, 2013

The British Lung Foundation is raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos with its campaign 'Take 5 and Stay Alive', launched this week.

Every week an average of 20 tradesmen die in the UK from exposure to asbestos, according to the Health & Safety Executive.

Although it is now illegal to use asbestos, this ban was only imposed in 2000, meaning any building built or renovated before then could contain asbestos. When disturbed and inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause a range of illnesses, including the terminal chest cancer mesothelioma. The particles stick to clothes, meaning that workers can unknowingly put their family members, colleagues and friends at risk too.

The Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign aims to ensure that tradespeople are able to identify asbestos, determine what type it is and assess whether they have the training and equipment to deal with it safely.

BLF chief executive Dr Penny Woods explained: “Twice as many people die from asbestos-related illnesses than on the roads each year in Britain. It’s the biggest work-related killer, and the numbers of deaths associated with it are rising each year. Sole traders and people working for small companies are often under pressure to take jobs and deliver quickly, and this can sometimes put them at particular risk of asbestos exposure.

“But it’s not just tradespeople putting their own lives at risk. If asbestos is disturbed the particles can affect others too, and we know several women who have died after years of washing their husbands’ contaminated overalls.

“Our Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign aims to give tradespeople the tools to act responsibly. We want to ensure they can identify asbestos wherever and in whatever form it might be present, and know how to deal with it safely. Our message is simple: taking just five minutes to assess the situation could save your life, and keep your family, friends, clients and business safe from exposure to potentially fatal asbestos dust.”

Visit www.take5andstayalive.com to find out more.