Don’t muck about with mesothelioma-inducing roof asbestos

Industry news roundup: week ended 19 Feb 2015:

Listen up: if you’ve got asbestos in your roof, don’t muck about with that mesothelioma-inducing rubbish, as you could end up with massive fines from the HSE.

It’s bad enough that roofers have to deal with constant worries of falling from height and other work-related dangers, but sometimes roofing contractors end up having to deal with that most deadly of little flame-retardant fibres: asbestos. It’s especially prevalent in older buildings as fireproofing – well before it was known to cause that virulent and nasty form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

Because asbestos is just so bloody dangerous, the Health and Safety Executive takes a dim view to any roofing “experts” that deal with the substance without proper training or certification. Case in point is the news of how one roofing contractor in Chelmsford ended up with a £10,000 fine after the HSE found it had been handling the stuff without any of the certifications or training needed to dispose of it correctly.

Of course this is really the least of the roofing company’s problems. Its mishandling of the roof asbestos removal exposed its workers – and anyone else nearby – to any airborne fibres that the asbestos might have released. Breathing that stuff in could easily be a death sentence, considering how mesothelioma is both incurable and quite often terminal. Tragically it can take decades for mesothelioma to develop, which means that these workers might be carrying around a deadly lungful of the fibres and not even know it for many years.

Honestly I can’t understand how anyone in the current day and age would decide to attempt handling asbestos without taking the proper precautions or without calling in an expert instead. It’s so bloody well known that the fireproofing material causes mesothelioma that you must have been living under a rock for the past several decades to not realise how dangerous that stuff is. I can only imagine that the owner of this roofing company must be an absolute idiot – or that he’s a maniac hell-bent on poisoning himself, his workers, and anyone who was nearby at the time.

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