The discovery of deadly asbestos at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel should serve as a warning of its dangers to tradesmen everywhere says Thompsons Senior Partner Frank Maguire.
Mr Maguire, a leading campaigner for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancers, said: “Figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that asbestos accounts for around 4,000 deaths a year and that building trade workers are now one of the categories most at risk.”
“The management team at Gleneagles did exactly the right thing when they discovered asbestos in the roof space of the Golf Course Dormy House. They stopped work immediately and called in the HSE.
“But not everyone acts in such a responsible manner, and in many cases workers and even contractors are either unaware of the dangers of asbestos or don’t take the risks seriously”.
The HSE warn that any building built before the year 2000, including houses, factories, offices, schools, and hospitals can contain asbestos.
Asbestos materials in good condition are safe unless asbestos fibres become airborne, which happens when materials are damaged.
That’s why construction workers and particularly those renovating older buildings are particularly at risk.
The HSE statistics show just how grim the death toll is. The say four plumbers, six electricians, eight joiners and 20 tradesmen die every week from the effects of asbestos exposure.
Mr Maguire added: “That’s why tradesmen have to be aware of the dangers and make sure they follow the correct procedures to deal with asbestos safely.”
Gleneagles say that when a small amount of asbestos was found in the roof space at the Dormy House their health and safety officers followed the correct protocols in closing the site and calling the HSE.
The Dormy House is undergoing a £2.5m refurbishment ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup. Work began last October and was due to finish next month.