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Asbestos exposure may not be known by electricians, plumbers and carpenters

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Tradesman such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters and joiners may find themselves working in places where they don't know there's asbestos.

"People are mistaken if they think asbestos is a danger from the past. It's vital that its presence in buildings is highlighted, so workers can protect themselves against the dangers asbestos poses."
Sara Hunt, Associate

They are among thousands of workers unwittingly exposed to asbestos during the course of their employment, increasing the risk of developing asbestos-related cancer, such as mesothelioma.

The Health and Safety Executive says each week eight joiners, six electricians and four plumbers die from asbestos-related diseases.

It has been running an Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign to raise awareness among tradesmen who may be effected by asbestos.

People exposed to it as long as 40 years ago may only now be developing asbestos-related conditions.

As a result the companies where people worked may no longer be in existence or may have gone through a series of takeovers, meaning specialist legal advice is needed to trace these companies and their insurers.

Asbestos was used extensively as a building, insulating and fireproofing material particularly in the 1950's and 1980's. The industries commonly associated with asbestos exposure include power station workers, railway workers and ship builders are well known.

However, many tradesmen are unaware that any than buildings constructed or refurbished before Year 2000 could contain asbestos.

Workers are at risk when the asbestos is disturbed and the fibres become airborne. It can be disturbed inadvertently by drilling or cutting during maintenance work. Asbestos is still believed to remain in 500,000 buildings in the UK.

Sara Hunt, associate and asbestos claims specialist said, "People are mistaken if they think asbestos is a danger from the past. It's vital that its presence in buildings is highlighted, so workers can protect themselves against the dangers asbestos poses."

For more information about the HSE's campaign, please visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/hiddenkiller/index.htm

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