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Who is at risk?
Many of those suffering today from asbestos-related diseases worked in the building trades. They were carpenters, joiners, shop fitters, plumbers, electricians, gas service engineers etc. They were exposed to asbestos fibres in their day-to-day work with asbestos materials or because work with asbestos was carried out near them. Until more recently it was suggested that those who were dying form asbestos-related diseases were exposed to large amounts of asbestos either regularly or during a single period of work lasting from a few weeks to a few years. It is now considered possible that repeated low level exposures, which could occur while carrying out routine repair work may also lead to asbestos induced cancers. The scientific evidence on exactly what are considered safe levels of exposure to cause disease is still uncertain. Though, it is considered that the more asbestos dust inhaled the greater the health risk. This is why it is important that anyone who may work in an asbestos environment needs to take the strictest precautions.

Many buildings still contain asbestos. This is why within the building trade people like electricians, plumbers, building maintenance workers, shop fitters and carpenters may still be at risk when carrying out refurbishment, repair or maintenance work on buildings. Subsequent employees who may routinely disturb asbestos would be computer and, fire alarm installers, window blind fitters, and telecommunication engineers, It is not always known where asbestos maybe placed so it is important for these trades to be asbestos aware. Other areas not connected to the building trade are car mechanics (replacing brake pads) and ship builders (fire protection) to name but a few could be also at risk.Remember, asbestos will only pose a health risk if the asbestos fibres are released into the air in a very fine dust, which is often invisible to the naked eye.Reference: HSE (1998) Managing Asbestos in Workplace Buildings.


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