Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the chest and is most commonly associated with breathing in asbestos dust. It is fatal in all cases and is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.
In 2016, a total of 2,595 UK residents died from mesothelioma.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that was widely used in construction and other industries until the late 1990’s. It was commonly used to insulate and fireproof buildings and was commonly used in ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and spray coatings used on ceilings and walls.
Whilst the use of asbestos has been banned in the UK since 1999, the prevalence of its use over the previous 50+ years means that there are still many buildings in Great Britain which contain asbestos, some of which may be hidden from daily view
Whilst work with Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) is now limited to its safe removal, the potential to unknowingly disturb them remains. It is often not until demolition or maintenance work is carried out that the risk of disturbing the asbestos occurs.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations require that the controllers of buildings locate, identify, assess and manage any ACM’s and that they make sure people working those buildings are aware of this vital information.
These same regulations require that those workers and supervisors likely to encounter ACMs receive appropriate training and the information, so that they can avoid disturbing the materials which could release harmful fibres and dust into the workplace.
Any removal of any ACM’s must only be carried out by trained and competent personnel, under controlled conditions and with the use of the correct PPE.
THSP offers UKATA certified training courses. They can be viewed here.