Nearly half of UK tradespeople know someone in the trade who has an asbestos related disease or have one themselves

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:

Carpenter (95%)

Bricklayer (88%)

Builder (79%)

Building surveyor (79%)

Plumber (79%)

Electrician (78%)

Scaffolder (78%)

Joiner (74%)

Painter decorator (63%)

Plasterer (62%)

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.”

Find out more about the survey.

Neil Bishop from Asbestos Support Central England says, “If you would like advice about your exposure to asbestos, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.”

Photo by James Kovin on Unsplash