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Trades Warned Over Asbestos Deaths

Tradesmen Asbestos Warning


Young tradesmen are being warned that a history of asbestos-related fatalities in the North West could repeat itself after four councils in the area were named in the top 20 for such deaths.

Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Wyre and Lancaster were among the top 20 councils for deaths from mesothelioma between 1985 and 2004, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

The HSE is targeting tradesmen, such as plumbers, electricians and joiners, in Greater Manchester with a new campaign to warn them of the dangers.

Steve Coldrick, who is running HSE's disease reduction programme, said: "People regard asbestos as something only previous generations were exposed to but it is still a present danger.

"Anyone working in a building built or refurbished before the year 2000 should be aware that it could contain asbestos and take the necessary precautions to work safely."

The campaign, Asbestos the hidden killer!, is giving free information packs to young workers after research showed that they recognised the danger of asbestos but did not think they were personally at risk.

Geraldine Coombs from the Manchester office of Irwin Mitchell said: "When the use of asbestos was banned I think there was an assumption that it was an end to the problem. The truth is that asbestos remains a hidden danger for so many trades people who work in properties where there is asbestos. Asbestos does not inflict an instant injury; it is a silent killer which may take decades to take peoples lives. All trades people need to be aware, when they are working on older properties, of the dangers of this material and they need to take the necessary steps to avoid exposure to asbestos. There is no such thing as 'safe' asbestos - all types are dangerous."