Asbestos safety: what you need to know as a tradesperson!

Repair 3

Asbestos Safety – even though asbestos was banned in 1999, the substance remains an extremely dangerous presence in our older buildings. It has the potential to cause life-changing and terminal disease, which is why asbestos safety is an important part of everyday working life as a tradesperson.

If you work in the trades the chances are you’ll come into contact with asbestos at some point, but there are so many construction-related trades it can potentially affect the health of huge numbers of people.

Why is asbestos safety vital for tradespeople?

Asbestos was widely used in construction to fireproof and insulate commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. It can be present in various forms, including spray coatings, cement products, textiles, and boarding, so you’re likely to come across the substance at some point if you work on properties that were built before 2000.

Statistics published in a 2018 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report show asbestos still causes over 5,000 deaths in this country.¹

  • 2,595 from mesothelioma in 2016
  • A similar number linked to asbestos-related lung cancer
  • 500 asbestosis deaths

With figures unlikely to drop until the next decade, it’s vital for tradespeople to take asbestos safety seriously. But what can happen if you come across asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) during your working day?

Asbestos safety at work

When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or start to degrade they can release microscopic fibres that are easily inhaled. Breathing in asbestos fibres is known to set up serious health conditions in later life, sometimes several decades after the initial exposure.

Typically, no symptoms are experienced until a late stage, which makes asbestos-related diseases such as mesothlioma very difficult to treat. The recent mortality rates above show how serious asbestos exposure can be, and why you need to prioritise asbestos safety.   

Putting safety first when you come into contact with asbestos

The message from the Health and Safety Executive is to leave asbestos materials untouched if you encounter them at work, or you come across materials that you suspect could contain asbestos.

Being able to identify asbestos in all its forms, therefore, is crucial, and asbestos training can help in this respect. Asbestos awareness training teaches you about different types of asbestos, their properties, effects on health, and likely locations within a building.

It’s intended to help you avoid work that could bring you into contact with the substance, or be able to identify it so you don’t disturb asbestos-containing materials if they’re encountered unexpectedly.

Acorn Analytical Services offers UKATA asbestos awareness training to help you stay safe at work. We prioritise asbestos safety for all tradespeople, helping to reduce the chances of accidentally disturbing asbestos at work and breathing in the fibres. For more information on this and any other asbestos-related issue, please contact one of our highly trained consultants.   

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Sam Savage Commercial Director

Commercial Director Sam Savage talks about his first 3 weeks

Last month we announced Sam Savage had joined Acorn Analytical Services as our Commercial Director, working out of the Northampton office and covering the South of England. Sam joins the business from an another asbestos consultancy where he worked for more than 20 years, working his way up from a trainee right through to contracts … Read more

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos Awareness Training – the importance of practising what we preach

At Acorn, we work hard to educate everyone about the dangers of asbestos. One of the ways we do this is through our UKATA accredited Asbestos Awareness training courses. Being a UKATA Approved Training Provider not only demonstrates that Acorn Analytical Services is committed to delivering the highest standard of asbestos training, it also means … Read more

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure risk leads to jail sentences

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure? At Acorn, we work hard to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos which remains the world’s biggest workplace killer. When asbestos is disturbed it releases tiny fibres into the air which can cause a … Read more

MPs want asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years.

MPs fight for asbestos to be removed from public buildings

Last week, MPs called for all asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years. The Government’s Work and Pensions Select Committee wants the asbestos to be removed because the substance remains the biggest workplace killer in the UK with around 5,000 deaths linked to it every year. Even though … Read more

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week charities and organisations around the world will be working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer.

Hitting back at hidden killer during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2022

Today marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. Between now and April 7, charities and organisations around the world will be working hard during Global Asbestos Awareness Week to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer. In the UK, the use of asbestos was banned more than … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services is proud to be helping women to #BreakTheBias.

#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022

Today, Acorn is incredibly proud to be supporting International Women’s Day. The United Nations began marking the global event back in 1977 and the day is now recognised as the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. This year means a lot to our diverse team at Acorn because the theme for 2022 is … Read more

International Women's Day Emma

International Women’s Day 2022

To mark International Women’s Day, we wanted to introduce you to a couple of Acorn Analytical Service’s fantastic female employees. The asbestos industry – like the construction industry in general – is a male dominated sector but at Acorn we are fortunate to work with several brilliant female employees, including asbestos analysts, asbestos surveyors and … Read more

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home?

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home? During the 20th century asbestos was used heavily by the UK’s construction industry and even though its use has been banned for more than two decades its legacy lives on in our homes, garages, workplaces and public buildings. … Read more

Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease

Rare Disease Day 2022

Did you know that Rare Disease Day is taking place on Monday? Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease and for their families and carers. More than 600 events will be taking place across the … Read more

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the HSE's approach to asbestos management

Asbestos management inquiry held by Government

Over the past few months, the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the approach of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to asbestos management in buildings. There are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, most of which can be found in more than 1.5 million buildings across … Read more