Increase in South Yorkshire mesothelioma deaths
Revealing new figures highlight the danger that asbestos poses says UKATA
The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is reminding tradespeople and the public in general of the dangers of asbestos, following news that the number of deaths in South Yorkshire caused by mesothelioma have increased. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelial cells, the cells make up the membrane (lining) that covers the outer surface of most of our body’s organs. This type of Cancer is linked to exposure to asbestos.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that 30 people in Sheffield alone died in 2014 from mesothelioma, whilst there were 12 in Doncaster, 11 in Rotherham and five in Barnsley. Even though the numbers were down in Doncaster and Barnsley, the overall pattern in South Yorkshire showed an increase of 11 per cent.
UKATA’s General Manager Craig Evans says that more needs to be done to ensure tradespeople are protected in the future.
“The sad fact is that mesothelioma is a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Establishing a direct link between asbestos and other illnesses it is known to cause can be difficult to prove; but it is surely right we do all we can to support asbestos victims now – and with greater training – ensure we never again see workers suffering from its avoidable and tragic effects.”
A local solicitor specialising in industrial disease pointed out that South Yorkshire deals with a higher level of disease and death from mesothelioma than the national average, but as Craig points out, the national figures themselves make sobering reading.
“Around 5,000 people a year still die from asbestos related illnesses in the UK,” said Craig. “At UKATA, we are striving to get the message across that professional training can change the way today’s workers operate so they don’t put their lives at unnecessary risk.
Too few have been properly trained in how to be aware and in turn safely handle asbestos which is an issue which must change.”
When left undisturbed asbestos is harmless; however the danger comes when hazardous asbestos fibres become airborne. To help counter this risk, DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople running small businesses are being offered free asbestos safety training that could save their lives, thanks to a new exclusive national campaign launched by UKATA.
Entitled ‘Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe’, the campaign sees UKATA members offering free asbestos training during September and October this year as means of highlighting the dangers of asbestos and the need for essential training for those who may encounter the substance. The campaign is predominantly aimed at small companies and individual tradespeople who may not otherwise have previously known about, or received such training.
UKATA is the leading authority for asbestos training provision in the United Kingdom. Tasked by the HSE in 2008 to manage the licensed asbestos training providers, UKATA has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 180 member organisations from all corners of the UK.
Victoria Castelluccio, Marketing Officer