The Health and Safety Executive is warning renovation workers about the dangers of asbestos with a monthlong campaign

HSE Starts 'Hidden Killer' Asbestos Campaign

At a large trade show this week and in national radio advertisements, the British OSH agency is urging renovation contractors and workers to be aware of potential asbestos exposures and the possibility of contracting mesothelioma and other deadly illnesses.

Britain's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will take its monthlong "Asbestos: The hidden killer" campaign on the road this week, raising awareness from a booth at The National Painting and Decorating Show in Coventry. The campaign urges renovation contractors and workers to be aware of potential asbestos exposures and the possibility of contracting mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, and other illnesses.

The trade show gives HSE officials an opportunity to discuss additional issues for these trades, including working at heights and slip-and-fall hazards, said Jan Foers, a Health and Safety awareness officer. "The National Painting and Decorating Show gives the trade an opportunity to find out firsthand the latest advice and guidance on improving health and safety. In addition to promoting our asbestos awareness campaign, we will be offering advice on manual handling; handling harmful substances; dusts, fumes, and gases in the air; working near vehicles; loud and continuous noise; working with power tools; and working at height," Foers said.

"Slips, trips, and falls; musculoskeletal disorders; breathing problems; skin conditions; and hearing problems are some of the potential dangers of painting and decorating where HSE can give guidance to those in the trade who attend the show or access"

HSE has posted helpful Web materials for the campaign to explain the dangers of disturbing asbestos fibers. The "where is it found" page lets visitors don "asbestovision" glasses and search a typical British house for locations where asbestos is commonly found. Links to find out more about asbestos and video downloads created specifically for electricians, plumbers, joiners, and tradesmen are also available.

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