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Asbestos Exposure: Symptoms, Actions, Occupations & More

Asbestos Exposure: Symptoms, Actions, Occupations & More

While most people do not develop life-threatening lung disease from inhaling asbestos once or twice, long-term exposure can lead to some severe illnesses. With increased focus on safety and the wellbeing of all workers in the UK, there has been a drive for asbestos awareness in recent years, as asbestos still lurks in many buildings across the country.

However, even with awareness and education becoming more common, asbestos exposure is still a reality and should be carefully navigated. In this post, Safety Services Direct explores asbestos exposure, its symptoms, and the professions most at risk of coming into contact with asbestos.

How does asbestos exposure happen?

There are a few ways in which asbestos can enter your body. The primary route of entry is through inhalation of asbestos fibres in the air. You can also be dermally exposed, where fibres lodge in the skin. And lastly, asbestos can enter the body through ingestion.

Asbestos was used in thousands of products, from roofing panels to cement pipes and even car gaskets. Before it had been discovered that asbestos could cause severe illness, it was a commonly used material because it was cheap, strong, and had excellent heat and sound insulation properties. Unfortunately, the thin fibrous crystals, made up of microscopic fibrils, can be released into the air through abrasion and other means. It has therefore become a hazardous substance.

Note: If you want to know more, here are a few facts about asbestos.

Asbestos exposure symptoms

If you have experienced prolonged exposure to asbestos, you may have developed asbestosis or lung cancer. However, if you are reading this post because you are concerned that you or your team may have been exposed or might be in the future, look out for these warning signs of asbestos poisoning:

  • shortness of breath
  • Swollen fingertips
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent dry cough

How to prevent exposure to asbestos

When preventing exposure to asbestos for yourself or your team, the first thing to do is ensure that everyone has been adequately trained in asbestos awareness. Safety Services Direct offers three approved online training courses to ensure your team’s safety. Our course options include:

If one individual in your team has not been adequately trained, they can expose everyone else by disturbing asbestos materials. It is, therefore, crucial that everyone receives adequate training.

What professions are most at risk for asbestos exposure?

Of course, an IT specialist working in an office may not need to take an asbestos awareness training course. There are certain professions that have the potential to be regularly exposed to this hazardous material, while others are relatively safe.

The professions most at risk of exposure to asbestos include:

  • Construction workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Firefighters
  • Industrial and power plant workers
  • Factory workers

These manual labour related jobs generally have a much higher likelihood of working with asbestos than other professions. However, it is important to note that the current statistic of workers who have handled asbestos and developed a related disease is approximately 20%. With an increase in education and awareness, this percentage can be reduced drastically.

HSE Launch a New Round of Dust Inspections

HSE Dust Inspections

The HSE have announced that they are cracking down on UK businesses where workers are exposed to a range of different dusts that are linked to respiratory diseases.
Over the next few weeks, HSE inspectors will focus on industries such as construction, woodworking and food manufacturing where occupational lung diseases are more common amongst workers. (more…)

5 Facts About Asbestos

Facts About Asbestos

Asbestos is a harmful substance that, although is not used in construction today, is often found in older buildings, putting a number of workers at harm if they’re not correctly educated and protected – that’s where Asbestos Awareness Training Courses and PPE Equipment come in. (more…)

How Important is UKATA Asbestos Awareness Training?

how important is ukata training

UKATA is the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association, and is one of the leading authorities and the UKATA Asbestos Awareness Course is delivered in accordance with the current HSE legislation.

As one of the most respected programme providers for Asbestos training, Safety Services Direct are pleased to offer a course that enables construction, maintenance and engineering professionals the opportunity to become certified within Asbestos Awareness. (more…)

Who Are RoSPA? – RoSPA Explained

Who are RoSPA

RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) are a registered charity devised to prevent workplace accidents that can cause life altering accidents. Their mission brings people together to discover life-enhancing skills which reduces accidental injuries, allowing everybody to enjoy life to the maximum. RoSPA collaborate with experts from a range of industries as well as people who have been affected by accidents. (more…)

How To Protect Yourself From Asbestos

Although it may look rather harmless, asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that kills approximately 5,000 workers every year making it one of the biggest causes of worker death in the UK.

If you inhale asbestos fibres, it can cause life-threatening illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. (more…)

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous

Asbestos kills approximately 5,000 workers every year making it one of the biggest causes of worker death in the UK.
Even though it is no longer used in the building industry, it can still be found in older buildings and properties when it was used for fireproofing and insulation so it is still a major concern for workers. (more…)

What Is Asbestos?

What is asbestos

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals which are made up of fine, durable fibres and was used in many buildings for insulation and fireproofing purposes before being banned in 1999.
This means that if you are working in a building built prior to 2000, then it is likely that asbestos will be present.

(more…)