New asbestos laws come into force

STRICT new legislation to protect industrial workers from deadly asbestos came into force today.Problems caused by the asbestos have been highlighted by The Evening Star's Silent Killer campaign.

STRICT new legislation to protect industrial workers from deadly asbestos came into force today.

Problems caused by the asbestos have been highlighted by The Evening Star's Silent Killer campaign.

Scores of people in Suffolk have died from asbestosis after exposure to the substance between the 1940s and 1970s.

Several were employed at the former Cliff Quay power station in Ipswich.

The new legislation will demand that anyone responsible for the maintenance of commercial, industrial or public properties must check for asbestos and ensure the risk is properly managed.

Around half a million buildings across Britain still contain asbestos, many of which were built between 1950 and 1980.

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Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and the lives of maintenance workers are put at risk if the fibres are dislodged.

Although asbestos is no longer used as a building material, the number of people dying from mesothelioma - a cancer of the lung lining caused by inhaling the fibres – is on the up.

Currently, around 3,500 people die nationally every year as a result of exposure to asbestos many years ago because the fibres can lay dormant in the lungs for a long time before causing any complications.

The death toll is expected to rise to at least 4,000 between 2011 and 2015.

Since 1997, nearly 1,500 in East Anglia have died from asbestos related diseases.

David Head, principal inspector with the Health and Safety Executive in the East of England said: "In this region, HSE will be working to ensure that everyone recognises that the emphasis is now focused on people working in the premises where asbestos may have been used as a building material in the past.

"This is where we will be concentrating our efforts to ensure that the duty to manage is understood."

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