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Respiratory protection required for asbestos demolition jobs

Respiratory protection must be worn when contractors are demolishing buildings containing asbestos.

Asbestos, which was widely used as an insulator in ceiling tiles up until the 1980s, is not harmful when it is left undisturbed.

However, when asbestos is agitated this can release fibres into the atmosphere which, if breathed in, can get stuck in the lungs and potentially cause cancer and other diseases.

With asbestos ranking as the biggest single killer in UK workplaces, with around 4,000 people dying every year as a result of having breathed in asbestos fibres, it is also vital that only trained persons work with asbestos.

Allen Shute, an inspector at HSE, said that "by cutting corners and not using a licensed contractor to safely remove the asbestos ceiling tiles" firms put their workers' lives at risk.

An award-winning advert, 'Hidden Killer', highlighting the dangers asbestos poses to tradesman recently made a return after a campaign by the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT). 

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