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HSE Campaign Highlights The Dangers Of Asbestos

Date Added: January 21, 2009 09:16:36 AM
Author: Nick Jervis
Category: Society
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has long been at the forefront in the campaign to highlight the dangers of asbestos at home and particularly in the workplace. As asbestos continues to claim lives, the HSE have decided to up the ante in the campaign, and have responded by launching a new website raising awareness of the dangers of what was once thought to be a perfectly safe building material. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been in use as a building material since the 1950's. It was used as an insulator and was popular because of its resistance against fire and corrosion. Asbestos was rarely used on its own, as its structure is inherently weak. It was mixed with other materials and as such it was difficult for builders to know if they were working with asbestos or not. It is only some years later that the effects of working with this material are realised, as cases of asbestosis and other related diseases come to light. The frequency with which asbestos has been used over the years is testament to its versatility as a building material, with it being incorporated into everything from sprayed coating used as a fire protection shield on structural supports, to Vinyl floor tiles and asbestos cement roof sheeting. Even a common decorative coating such as Artex contains asbestos, although in very small quantities. Asbestos was withdrawn as a building material in 2000, so homes built after that period should not contain the substance. However, buildings constructed before that date have a possibility of containing asbestos in varying degrees. Asbestosis is the most commonly referred to asbestos related industrial disease, although asbestos has been found to be a contributing factor to asbestos related lung cancer and pleural thickening. The most virulent form of cancer closely associated with asbestos is Mesothelioma; a cancer that effects the lining of the lungs and is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal. The HSE has long been aware of the continuing impact of asbestos and is actively campaigning to raise awareness amongst the building trades of the potential dangers of this hidden hazard. In a recent advertising campaign, nearly 70% of respondents said that they were now more conscious of the hazards of asbestos because of intensive advertising by the HSE to raise awareness of the matter. The newly designed website is part of that campaign to keep the issues surrounding asbestos in the workplace in the public eye. Awareness was increased in all trades, particularly amongst plumbers and electricians. Perhaps because of the risks posed by spray coating containing asbestos (which can be particularly dangerous if damaged or disturbed, releasing asbestos fibres into the atmosphere), 55% of those who responded to the advertising campaign said that they would consider taking greater precautions when dealing with properties that may contain asbestos. If you are considering claiming for an asbestos related disease, you need to talk to solicitors who are experienced in dealing with asbestos claims. Solicitors who work on such claims should be Members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and Members of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel. Asbestos claims can be extremely complex, particularly because of the timescales involved. It can take many years for the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases to show themselves. When and if they do, it's essential that you have a personal injury lawyer on your side that understands the complex nature of the case. 1stclaims is run by a non-practising Personal Injury Solicitor with over 14 years personal injury claims experience.For further information, please visit http://www.1stclaims.co.uk
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