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Contact with asbestos a major concern as 'alarming' Ucatt survey suggests firms shun safety

More than 21 per cent of construction workers do not believe their employers take their health and safety seriously, a survey by Ucatt has revealed, with fears of asbestos contact prominent.

Eleven per cent of those surveyed by the construction union said their workplace had become more dangerous in the last 12 months, while 55 per cent said there had been no improvement in safety in the past year.

The three biggest safety concerns reported by Ucatt members in the survey were falls from heights, manual handling and lifting, and stress. Furthermore, 60 per cent of respondents said they believed their work could result in them coming into contact with asbestos.

The survey sought the views of more than 750 Ucatt members on health and safety practices in the industry.

A total of 38 per cent of respondents said that their employer did not have adequate procedures in place to prevent exposure to asbestos and 28 per cent said they had not had adequate training on asbestos awareness.

Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Asbestos kills thousands of workers every year and construction workers are now at the greatest risk of being exposed to asbestos.

“The results of our survey show that employers are persistently failing to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos, they are playing Russian roulette with construction workers lives.”

The survey also found that 8 per cent of respondents said personal protective equipment was not supplied by their employer, and that 37 per cent of respondents reported that they or a colleague suffered a workplace accident in the last 12 months.

Mr Murphy added: “The findings of this survey are alarming and demonstrate that far more needs to be done in order to improve workplace safety.”

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