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Health and safety to become more important

Issues of health and safety will become more important than ever when Britain emerges from recession, a senior construction industry expert has said.

Policy manager at the Federation of Master Builders Peter O'Connell remarked: "Experience suggests that new and rapidly expanding firms often struggle to manage the health and safety risks during this period of the economic cycle."

He emphasised that, contrary to the idea that health and safety is about the nanny state stopping children playing conkers, the issue is critical to avoiding deaths and serious injuries in the workplace.

New firms taking on more work when the economy picks up may include those that renovate buildings, where respiratory protection may be needed to protect against airborne asbestos fibres.

The Health and Safety Executive's advice for those working with the substance is to ensure material is cleaned up as work takes place, is double bagged and restored properly.

It also advises people to wash during breaks and before going home.

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