Former England footballer, Stuart Pearce, is backing the latest Health and Safety Executive asbestos initiative, Every Job Beware Asbestos. Pearce fears that he may have inhaled asbestos dust and fibres when working as a trainee electrician in the 1980s, before he became a professional footballer.
A particularly valid point was made when he talked about the lack of caution around asbestos at that time. Whereas now, awareness of the dangers of asbestos is high, in those days warnings were few and far between.
We were briefed on safety hats and boots but I don’t recall asbestos mentioned once. It’s chilling to think of the risks we were exposed to.
Working in schools, factories and private homes over a period of four years will have exposed him to a risk of mesothelioma, a potentially incurable form of lung cancer, but he was never told that inhaling asbestos could result in illness or disease.
The statistics show just how dangerous the work was, and still is. The Health and Safety Executive report that around 20 workers on average are killed by asbestos-related disease each week – hence the need for their latest campaign.
Every Job Beware Asbestos campaign
The HSE are giving out asbestos safety kits with the help of Trade Point building supply stores, bringing awareness to the dangers of asbestos. A downloadable app has also been developed which is designed to advise trades people as to where asbestos might be hiding, as they carry out their work.
The app also offers customised guidance on how to deal with asbestos in each scenario, and can be used on a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.
The backing and support of Stuart Pearce should enhance the campaign’s success, and highlight the fact that even nowadays the threat of exposure to asbestos is ever-present.