Workers 'Unaware Of Asbestos Risk'

Mesothelioma from asbestos

22.02.2008

There is an "alarming" ignorance among tradesmen and women about the risks posed by asbestos, according to a new report.

The British Lung Foundation said a survey showed only one in eight workers knew that exposure to asbestos could be fatal and one in four mistakenly assumed that some levels of asbestos were safe.

Most of those polled admitted they rarely asked if a site had been checked for asbestos before they started a job.

But most alarmingly, one in 10 of the 400 workers questioned revealed they had been pressured to continue working even if they suspected that asbestos was present.

Asbestos causes a chest cancer called mesothelioma, which kills one person every five hours in the UK. Asbestos exposure is now Britain's biggest workplace killer, with 20 tradesmen dying of asbestos-related diseases every week, according to the report.

Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "It is a great worry that those most at risk of this cruel cancer know so little about a killer that could be lurking in the building they're working on."

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