Why is asbestos such a big deal?
Asbestos is one of those things that many people have heard about, but fewer people really understand the importance and implications of it. However, due to its prevalence, it’s really key that people have appreciation for the dangers it poses. This article demonstrates why we awareness of this is so important.
To understand why we need to understand the risks of asbestos, it helps to understand a little about why it’s used and where it can be found. As a building material, asbestos is a highly flexible substance in terms of its qualities and uses. Its fibrous nature means that it can be used easily in various applications, and it boasts several benefits. It offers good insulation properties, it can absorb sound, it’s resistant to fire and heat, it’s strong, and is a good electrical insulator. It’s easy to see why so many people saw it as a good t choice.
Asbestos was a good insulator and readily available making it an ideal choice. It took several decades before it was first identified as a severe health risk, and in the early 20th century medical professionals began to recognise that it had caused deaths. Asbestosis, one of the diseases caused by the material, was first described in the 1920s, and was found to be enormously prevalent amongst those who’d worked with the material.
Regrettably however, this discovery did not stop the use of asbestos. Measures were taken to try and make it safer to use, but these were commonly failures, and did not take into account the later impact of buildings made using asbestos products. As a result, many hundreds of thousands – and potentially millions – of buildings in this country and all over the world still contain asbestos.
The HSE and other government bodies, trade authorities do regularly publish guidance on what businesses need to do when it comes to raising awareness. However, there are still workers who aren’t aware of the harm of asbestos, or aren’t aware of the prior use of asbestos. Businesses who need more information about the risks of asbestos, should consult the HSE. There is also courses on the subject if you need in depth knowledge.