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Why is Asbestos Awareness Important?

Why is Asbestos Awareness Important?

Did you know that every week 20 tradesmen die from asbestos-related diseases? If you carry out work on a building that was built or refurbished before the year 2000, you could be exposed to asbestos without even knowing it.

A common misconception is that the term “asbestos” relates to one material, however, asbestos is actually a group of six, naturally occurring minerals; Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

These fibrous minerals form within metamorphic rocks and when mechanically crushed and broken down leave the raw loose ‘fluffy’ asbestos fibres. Asbestos in its natural environment can still be dangerous to humans if it is disturbed.

When asbestos containing materials are disturbed or damaged, they release the microscopic fibres into the air, it’s these fibres that can easily be inhaled without the person being aware. They bypass the body’s initial defences in the nose and throat and become trapped in the lower oesophagus or within the lungs. Once the fibres have entered the body, this is when health problems can start to form.

One of the many health problems which can result from asbestos exposure is Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a malignant tumour that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibres, which is formed in the lining of the abdomen, heart or lungs. Symptoms can include shortness of breath and chest pain.

Alec Smith, Director of Artisan Environmental, commented “I had the pleasure of meeting Mavis Nye a couple of years ago when we organised a video interview at Chatham Docks with her husband, Ray, who was exposed to asbestos on the ships when he was an apprentice in the Royal Naval Dockyard. Unbeknown to either of them, he would be carrying fine, invisible dust of asbestos on his clothes, which caused Mavis’ exposure and subsequent mesothelioma diagnosis. Mavis was initially given 3 months to live. She was advised to return home and put her affairs in order. Fast-forward some 12 years later and Mavis is still fighting strong, thanks to a ground-breaking immunotherapy drugs trail.”

As of June 21st 2021, Mavis has now completed 6 treatments of Radiotherapy. This trial System 2 is for pain management only. 

Mavis, since her diagnosis, has set up the Mavis Nye Foundation. The foundation was created to inspire victims of mesothelioma, to give hope to fellow victims and to show a light at the end of the tunnel. As a result of all her hard work, dedication and determination, Mavis has recently been awarded on this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list and awarded the Prestigious British Empire medal for services to People with Mesothelioma.

We can all agree, that the perseverance, commitment and strength Mavis has shown in promoting and raising awareness of the issues of asbestos are without a doubt limitless.

In the UK, over 2,500 per year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is more common in men than in women and the majority of those diagnosed with the disease are over 75 years old.  

So how can we help prevent mesothelioma in the work place?

  • Instruct an asbestos survey of your building and compile a compliant Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan
  • Communicate asbestos hazards to workers
  • Use correct work practices and controls to ensure limited exposure
  • Provide asbestos awareness training
  • Complete regular assessments of asbestos risks, including annual Re-inspection surveys of identified ACMs

Artisan Environmental has created both a Level 1 Asbestos Awareness training course that specifically aims to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos so that the potential risk of exposure can be reduced, and also a Non Licensed Asbestos Works Course.

To find out more about our IATP accredited courses please contact us 01329 800650 or email

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