The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has marked Global Asbestos Awareness Week, currently taking place up to 7 April 2019, by sharing a list of “fast facts” on the dangerous dust via social media.

The key points on asbestos have been shared as part of IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign to prevent occupational cancer.

  • According to IOSH, worldwide around 125 million people continue to be exposed to asbestos in various forms at work, with asbestos-related diseases claiming over 100,000 lives a year globally.

  • Asbestos can cause fatal lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural plaques.

  • The time lag between asbestos exposure and developing asbestos-related diseases can be up to 40 years — so IOSH warns that exposure today could be a death sentence in years to come, depending on duration and concentration of exposure, and on biological susceptibility of the individual.

Asbestos in the workplace can be found in:

  • spray coatings

  • laggings

  • insulation boards

  • asbestos yarns

  • fibre cement

  • asbestos millboard and papers

  • floor tiles, gaskets, bitumen felts

  • mastics, sealants, putties and adhesives

  • textured coatings and paints

  • reinforced plastics.

For more on managing asbestos see our in-depth topic, which includes a model policy, useful inspection and asbestos register forms and an asbestos awareness training presentation, which you can use to inform others in your organisation.

Last reviewed 4 April 2019