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Asbestos is still present in many buildings © Shutterstock

11 September 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal 


About 20 trades people die in the UK each week from work-related asbestos exposure – far more than those who die from accidents at work, according to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).


Asbestos-related diseases claim at least 100,000 lives around the world every year, and it is estimated that it will have caused 10 million deaths before it is fully controlled, states IOSH.


The shocking facts about asbestos deaths were due to be highlighted today (11 September) at the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS): Image of Construction event in London.


Jonathan Hughes, IOSH vice-president, will present the No Time to Lose (NTTL) asbestos campaign to constructors in attendance.


Exposure to asbestos is now one of the biggest contributors to occupational cancer, leaving construction workers at greatest risk of its deadly legacy.


Although its fatal properties have been known about since the late 1800s, asbestos was used prolifically by industry until it was banned in the UK in 1999.


Dr Jukka Takala, from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore and President of the International Commission on Occupational Health, who revealed the toll of work-related lung cancers along with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland, said: “Latest estimates suggest as many as a quarter of a million lives may be lost every year to the work-related effects of exposure to asbestos.


“I have been pleased to support the IOSH No Time to Lose campaign over the past four years as it tackles the global burden of occupational cancer in a practical way by enlisting the support of companies, the occupational safety and health professionals who dedicate their working lives to the health and well-being of their colleagues, and transnational organisations like the International Commission on Occupational Health and the Workplace Safety and Health Institute in Singapore, to which I am affiliated.”


CCS is a supporter of the NTTL campaign and is committed to raising awareness of the risks of asbestos exposure in construction.


Edward Hardy, CCS chief executive, said: “Through the monitoring of the 8,000-plus sites currently registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, we will continue to raise awareness of initiatives such as this, as ultimately this can only lead to a far greater understanding of how we can best care for our workforce.”