A survey carried out by ElectricalDirect has found that 72% of tradespeople have come across asbestos in their working lives. A quarter encounter it every week, over a third (35%) say every month, and one in 12 (8%) still come face to face with asbestos every day.
This can have serious consequences. 44% said they had symptoms of an asbestos-related disease, or know a colleague who has.
Who is most at risk?
Almost every carpenter (95%) who was questioned had some history with asbestos, and bricklayers (88%) were a close second.
The trades that said they were most likely to encounter asbestos were:
Building surveyor (79%)
Painter decorator (63%)
What to look out for
Asbestos related diseases are sometimes asymptomatic. The person does not realise they are becoming unwell until there is a sudden worsening of their condition. But a persistent cough and shortness of breath can be indicators of asbestos related disease. ElectricalDirect’s research found that almost two-thirds (64%) of the tradespeople did not know this.
Dominick Sandford, managing director at ElectricalDirect, said: “Despite being banned in the UK in 1999, asbestos is a still a real issue in the industry. “Some people might not experience symptoms for decades, so it’s important that individuals remain vigilant, and see a doctor immediately if they spot any signs.”