The ongoing problem of Asbestos Containing Materials within commercial buildings in the UK has been further highlighted with a diagnosis of Mesothelioma for a former Harrods employee. It was reported that during her time at the department store, between 1991 and 2001, Sandra Shaverien may have been exposed to asbestos dust in the tunnels that run underneath the building.
Mesothelioma is a is a rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. There is mention in the report that the tunnels beneath Harrods through which she regularly walked to collect merchandise, were “very dusty.”
Mrs Shaverien was quoted as saying:
“I started suffering from chest pains and was struggling to breathe. When I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma I was devastated and remain shell-shocked to this day.”
The use of asbestos in the building industry was not banned until 2000, with the previous five decades seeing the adoption of Asbestos Containing Materials in the construction and redevelopment of buildings in the UK.
Its use declined during the 1980s, but 20 years elapsed before a complete ban on the substance was brought in.
Not just commercial buildings
Asbestos was also used extensively in residential buildings, and is known to be contained in artex, insulation products, partition walls, water tanks and vinyl floor coverings, amongst other everyday items used to decorate and upgrade houses.
The lack of awareness of the dangers of asbestos has contributed to an increasing number of people in retirement being diagnosed with Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
According to figures released by Cancer Research UK, 2,429 people in the UK died from Mesothelioma in 2012.
Age also appears to be a significant factor in the incidence of this disease, with the older generation suffering the majority of cases. Cancer Research UK statistics reveal that:
“In the UK between 2009 and 2011, an average of 46% of cases were diagnosed in men and women aged 75 years and over, and 8% were diagnosed in the under-60s.”
Although there is a legal requirement for employers to provide Asbestos Awareness training to any of their staff likely to come across the substance in their line of work, reducing the risks to members of the public would also be helped if they were aware of the likely locations of asbestos.
Its existence in schools around the country has caused concern for both former and current teachers alike.
Asbestos Awareness Training courses
An online Asbestos Awareness course can generally be completed in around 90 minutes. On successful completion of a quiz at the end of the course, candidates download a UKATA certificate, which is valid for 12 months – assuming the course is UKATA accredited.
Simple and straightforward, this type of asbestos course is not burdensome and can be taken at a time to suit the candidate, whether at work or in the home. Not only will workers be protected from the risks of exposure to asbestos, members of the public will be able to place their trust in tradespeople and those working on building renovations.