Hitting back at hidden killer during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2022

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.

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 two decades ago but because the material was used so heavily by our construction industry throughout the 20th century it is still present in huge numbers of buildings across the country, including workplaces, homes, garages, schools, hospitals and other public buildings.

Tragically, as a result people continue to be exposed to asbestos every day in the UK and around 5,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases here each year.

This is why Global Asbestos Awareness Week is so important.

What is Acorn Analytical Services doing to mark Global Asbestos Awareness Week?

Throughout this week we will be raising awareness about asbestos and where people can go for help to manage it safely across our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn platforms.

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we are also starting work on a project to create a lasting memorial to the hundreds of UK teachers who have died as a result of exposure to asbestos.

We have embarked on this project as part of our wider Asbestos in Schools awareness campaign which we launched last year on World Teachers’ Day to highlight the dangers teachers and children are facing from asbestos in UK schools.

Why are we focussing on schools during Global Asbestos Awareness Week?

Asbestos was widely used in school buildings between the 1940s and 1980s and regularly used in construction in the UK up until 1999 when it was banned. This is why the presence of asbestos in educational buildings built prior to 2000 remains high.

More than 80 per cent of UK schools still contain asbestos and according to the National Education Union more than 200 teachers have died from the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma in the past 20 years.

Tragically, it’s well documented that teachers and pupils have an increased risk of contracting mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres in schools. In fact, the risk to teachers is three to five times that for other workplaces.

One of the reasons why people in schools are more vulnerable to asbestos if it is present is because children are playful and often move in groups. It’s therefore not uncommon for school buildings to be damaged and this can lead to the harmful asbestos fibres being released into the air.

Children are at an even greater risk from asbestos because their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing. Their lungs are smaller and they breathe at a faster rate meaning they can inhale more asbestos fibres with every breath.

If they have come into contact with asbestos particles they are also more like to accidentally ingest fibres through sticking their fingers in their mouths. Ingested asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma in the tummy which is called peritoneal mesothelioma.

Meanwhile, our teachers are losing their lives from acts as simple as pinning up work on noticeboards because they are unaware that they contain asbestos.

This is why we are once again turning the spotlight on the issue of asbestos in our schools during Global Asbestos Awareness Week.

How can you help raise awareness about asbestos in schools during Global Asbestos Awareness Week?

It is important that all headteachers – or indeed anyone who is responsible for managing a public or commercial building – know where asbestos is in their buildings and what state it is in.

They must also keep up-to-date asbestos records to ensure anyone working at the school also knows about the presence of asbestos.

If you don’t know where your asbestos is, and you don’t know what state it is in, you are not going to be able to manage it properly. As a result, you could end up putting people’s lives at risk and you could be prosecuted for failing to comply with the law.

However, whilst headteachers and contractors have legal duties when it comes to asbestos, in reality lots of us have a part to play in protecting staff and children from the dangers of asbestos in schools.

So, during Global Asbestos Awareness Week, if you have a connection with any school – whether you work at a school, are a governor, or have a child or grandchild at a school – start asking questions.

If that school was built before 2000 there is every chance that it contains asbestos. So, find out if your school has an up-to-date asbestos register.

If they don’t, let them know that our team at Acorn can help them. We are a fully independent and impartial company so they can be confident that the recommendations they receive from us will always be in their best interests.

Alternatively, perhaps this Global Asbestos Awareness Week you could help us in our bid to pay tribute to teachers who have lost their lives because of asbestos by supporting us our efforts to creating a lasting online memorial to them.

We want this memorial to ensure those teachers we have lost won’t be forgotten and we also hope their stories will encourage people to be more proactive when it comes to tackling asbestos in schools with which they have links.

Families of former teachers who have died as a result of asbestos are invited to submit a short biography and a photograph of their loved one for the memorial which is expected to go live later this year.

To contribute to the memorial project email south@acornasbestos.co.uk

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management.Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spend purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am 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

If you or your staff are working in the vicinity of asbestos and you fail to wear RPE correctly the consequences could be severe.

The dangers of not wearing RPE correctly

Being out on the frontline helping organisations to manage their asbestos safely means we’re no strangers to wearing RPE. For anyone who doesn’t know RPE stands for Respiratory Protective Equipment and it comes in two main types – respirators and breathing apparatus. RPE is one of the most essential pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) … Read more

Lung disease is a threat to construction workers

Construction workers warned about lung disease

Every week construction workers in the UK are dying from lung disease because they have inhaled hazardous substances at work. The seriousness of the situation prompted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to deliver an awareness campaign during recent weeks whilst its inspectors carried out health-related site inspections. Construction workers have a high risk of … Read more

Asbestos fibres are resistant to the human body’s natural defence mechanisms and can go on to cause serious health problems such as lung cancer.

What will you do to support Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2021?

Throughout November, the UK has been taking part in Lung Cancer Awareness Month to help educate people about the disease and raise funds for research and support for patients. Sadly, every year around 47,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer and according to the Health and Safety Executive’s report on Asbestos-related disease … Read more

Asbestos surveys save lives because they let people know where asbestos is located so that it can be properly managed and works can be carried out safely.

Asbestos surveys protect lives

A case has come to light in the past few weeks which shows why asbestos surveys are so important. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published the details of a court case concerning a construction company which was fined after employees were exposed to asbestos. MS Properties (Northern) Ltd has been fined for safety … Read more

During the past month we have turned the spotlight on the asbestos problem in our schools.

Asbestos problem in Welsh schools

Anyone who reads our blogs regularly will know that during the past month we have turned the spotlight on the asbestos problem in our schools. At the beginning of October, we launched a hard-hitting campaign to tackle the asbestos problem in UK schools on World Teachers’ Day. Shockingly, in some UK cities and towns, more … Read more

Threat of asbestos contamination stopped work at major construction project

Threat of asbestos contamination stopped work at major construction project

If organisations need reminding what damage even the threat of asbestos contamination can do to their business, they don’t need to look further than an incident which happened recently in Australia. A couple of weeks ago, hundreds of workers walked out on the $3.6bn Queen’s Wharf redevelopment in Brisbane because they were concerned that materials … Read more

UK teachers are dying after being exposed to asbestos

Teacher died after being exposed to asbestos

During the past few weeks, we have turned the spotlight on the risk of pupils and teachers being exposed to asbestos. You may remember that earlier this month we revealed we had launched a hard-hitting campaign calling for action to be taken to address the awful legacy of asbestos in UK schools. In our recent … Read more

Acorn School Site 26 e1634213147938

School holidays are the perfect time for asbestos surveys

When you think of the upcoming October half-term holiday, asbestos surveys and asbestos-related works might not be the first thing that spring to mind. Fortunately, many schools and colleges wisely choose to use their breaks to get on top of their asbestos issues by organising asbestos surveys or carrying out works which – without the … Read more

Acorn campaign targets asbestos in schools.

Asbestos in schools to be tackled by new Acorn campaign

This week we were proud to launch a hard-hitting campaign targeting the issue of asbestos in schools. If you read our blog last week you will know that more than 20 years after the UK banned the use of asbestos here, it’s estimated that a high percentage of our schools still contain the deadly substance. … Read more

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Did you know that the UK has a significant problem with asbestos in schools? More than two decades since the use of asbestos was banned in the UK, it’s estimated that eight out of 10 of our schools still contain the deadly substance. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used frequently by our construction industry, … Read more