Remember, remember no asbestos on your bonfire this November
With Bonfire Night approaching, the usual horror stories concerning firework safety are doing the rounds, but the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) warns it could be a hidden killer that causes the most danger to families on the 5th November.
An increase in fly tipping has followed the economic downturn and some unscrupulous companies have resorted to dumping asbestos waste illegally. The Health and Safety Executive has prosecuted many of them this year, but the fear is people will unknowingly pick up asbestos and throw it on the bonfire, with potentially fatal consequences.
Whilst all the warnings focus on the dangers of fireworks, asbestos remains the biggest killer in the UK workplace. The effect of diseases relating to asbestos can take over 20 years to develop and there is no cure.
Many believe asbestos to be an historical problem; sadly this misconception contributes to the deaths of those who unknowingly come into contact with a substance that still poses a very real risk to public health.
Over 4,500 people still die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres. The toxic substance can lead to a number of different serious diseases and anyone inhaling the fumes from a burning piece of asbestos will be put at risk.
“The message is a simple one,” said Craig Evans, General Manager of UKATA. “Make sure you know what you’re putting on your Bonfire. More and more unscrupulous individuals and businesses are illegally disposing of Asbestos. It is an irresponsible and illegal way to save money and it creates a big health risk to public health if people burn unknown materials on their Bonfires.”
“Asbestos often looks harmless and it’s not always so easy for the untrained eye to recognise,” explained Craig. “People unwittingly inhaling the smoke containing asbestos fibres may never know the danger they are in until years down the line when they contract a potentially fatal asbestos related disease. Even if you are burning things from your own home, be very sure you know what the materials is composed of before doing so.”
People are affected by asbestos when they breathe in fibres from the material which have become air borne. This can occur when asbestos is being transported, when people are around exposed asbestos or when people disturb asbestos by dropping it.
Whilst asbestos itself is not actually flammable and will not burn easily on the bonfire, the fire can carry the asbestos particles in the smoke and pose a very real risk to anyone standing close by or downwind of the fumes.
UKATA is a leading authority in asbestos training in the UK, a privileged position that has only been achieved by hard work, dedication and a focus on Quality and Standards that is second to none. From a standing start, UKATA now has over 170 fee paying Members with many more Membership applications pending and forthcoming new legislation likely to mean the demand for Training and Consultancy services offered by Members will increase further. UKATA is always keen to talk to prospective Members who are 100% committed to the highest professional standards. For further information on UKATA, visit www.ukata.org.uk
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Published on Tuesday 4th November 2014