Tradesmen urged to heed asbestos advice
Published at 15:40, Wednesday, 27 January 2010
WHILE so many people are hurrying to rebuild homes and businesses following November's floods, there has been a warning to consider implications and risks of asbestos in property – some of which can be present in unfamiliar places like floor tiles and Artex ceilings.
“Tradesmen must take heed of the £1.2million Health & Safety Executive campaign warning of the dangers of asbestos as they work in West Cumbria,” said Barry Graham, an asbestos specialist from West Coast Thermal in Workington, “but the general public working on their own homes might be unaware of the dangers.”
With so many damaged properties in Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington, it is even more important to ensure tradesmen and property owners are not putting their lives at unnecessary risk.
Anyone working on property built before 2000 could be exposed to asbestos without realising it – and there are a staggering 4,000 people who still die every year of asbestos-related illnesses. Those at greatest risk are builders, electricians and plumbers where, alarmingly, 20 tradesmen a week die from asbestos-related illnesses. More than 360 Cumbrian men died from asbestos related disease Mesothelioma between 1981 and 2005.
Mr Graham said: “Legislation came into place in November 2006 which means commercial property owners have a duty to manage asbestos. All business premises should now have an asbestos survey or register which will be a great help to tradesmen working on the property.
“This is intended to safeguard employees as well as tradesmen but does not apply to domestic property.
“There are around half a million homes in the UK that contain asbestos, but it is only a danger if the fibres are released into the air where they can be breathed in.
“Home owners should ensure they use reputable tradesmen who know how to deal with asbestos material, or know when to contact a specialist asbestos removal company.
“Asbestos can be found in roof and wall cladding and even in floor tiles and toilet cisterns. Properties that have not been refurbished in the last 20 years are even more at risk and these are often homes of the elderly.”
Barry added: “We have a licence to carry out surveys and asbestos removal, but so far have only been asked to look at a few properties because most of the insurance companies are bringing in their own tradesmen and specialists.
“We have just completed several surveys on properties in Cockermouth at the request of local builders who were unsure if the properties were asbestos-free – they followed the correct principal of ‘if in doubt check it out’, protecting their staff and those living in the area.”
For more information contact Barry Graham on 01900 65327 or www.westcoastthermal.co.uk or visit the Health & Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk