Reports of an increase in the number of claims for asbestos-related disease have highlighted the dangers of this once commonly used substance. It was only in 2000 that the use of asbestos was made illegal in this country, and it remains present in many buildings including schools, hospitals and offices.
During the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s steelwork employees were regularly exposed to asbestos dust and fibres, also taking it home on their clothes. Unaware of the dangers they were facing, they also inadvertently put their families at risk. With little health and safety awareness, procedures that were potentially lethal were rarely questioned by workers or managers.
40% increase in the number of compensation claims
A legal firm in Wales reported a 40% increase in historic compensation claims during the past year, in relation to steelworks in the area. It is important to state that these are claims in connection with historic working practices.
Solicitor, Philip Gower, said:
“Many workers suffered a painful death after exposure to asbestos ….. They are paying the ultimate price for a failure in basic health and safety precautions.”
How is asbestos dealt with today? – Asbestos Awareness Training
The Health and Safety Executive specify the need for tradespeople and workers who might come across asbestos in their normal line of work, to undergo specific training. Asbestos Awareness courses are designed to provide an insight into the dangers of asbestos, what to do if it is uncovered, and who to call in to deal with it.
It is now a legal requirement for employers to provide this type of training for their staff, with refresher training being encouraged after 12 months. Online courses take around 90 minutes to complete, with a quiz at the end to test candidates’ knowledge.