The United Kingdom has been hard hit by malignant mesothelioma, the rare and fatal form of cancer cause by exposure to asbestos. The nation has a significant amount of buildings that are contaminated with the carcinogenic material, and as a result tradesmen and women continue to be put at risk, despite the fact that the material’s dangers are recognized. In an effort to protect young workers, the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) has requested that the country’s employers make sure that their new apprentices receive proper proactive training in asbestos awareness.
Training Urged in Light of Greater Mesothelioma Risk to Younger Workers
One of the reasons that UKATA has taken this stance is research showing that younger workers are at greater risk for malignant mesothelioma than older workers, based on the same exposure. The agency believes that it is most effective to provide the training directly to young people as they enter the trades as apprentices. Doing so will discourage poor work practices and ensure greater, long-lasting protection.
According to UKATA, apprentices in a wide variety of trades are at risk for malignant mesothelioma. Those most vulnerable include electricians, carpenters, heating and ventilation engineers, plumbers, joiners and painters and decorators.
Asbestos Puts 1.3 Million UK Tradespeople at Risk of Mesothelioma
With 1.3 million tradespeople working in asbestos-contaminated buildings, the risks for mesothelioma in the United Kingdom remain extremely high, and asbestos remains the single biggest cause of work-related deaths. There are a reported 20 asbestos-related deaths in the UK every week.
OF those at risk, electricians are 16 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the rest of the British population, and an estimated one in 17 carpenters born in the 1940s will be diagnosed with the disease. The United Kingdom has the highest mesothelioma death rate in the world, with the majority arising from asbestos exposure that occurred before they were 30, but despite this, a survey conducted in 2017 revealed that less than one third of tradespeople were aware of appropriate asbestos handling practices. This is why UKATA is supporting the
Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER) project, which will provie asbestos awareness training.
According to Craig Evans, chief operating officer of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA), “With the death toll from occupational exposure reaching crisis levels in the UK, UKATA is calling on all employers of apprentices working in trades, to receive asbestos awareness training as soon as possible, whether that’s through a college or with their employer. The statistics show that the earlier in a person’s career they receive the appropriate training, then the better protected they are against developing asbestos-related cancers in later life. A simple half-day awareness course could prevent them from contracting a deadly disease and also ensure they don’t expose others to the dangers of asbestos.”
Many American victims of mesothelioma could have benefited tremendously from similar training. If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need information about the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.