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The Urgency for Tradies and Businesses to Take Asbestos Seriously in New Zealand


When it comes to occupational hazards, asbestos stands out as a silent, deadly threat that continues to claim lives. In New Zealand, asbestos exposure is still the leading cause of workplace fatalities, with an estimated 220 deaths per year. The urgency for tradies and businesses to prioritise asbestos safety has never been more critical. Asbestos Removals Marlborough investigates this silent killer. 

 

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once praised for its fire-resistant and durable properties, has left a devastating legacy. Being so popular in the construction industry has left a wave of dangerous removals as the material became banned. Despite being aware of its dangers for decades, asbestos exposure remains New Zealand's number one workplace killer. Shockingly, around 220 lives are lost each year due to asbestos-related diseases, a grim testament to the persistent dangers lurking in homes and workplaces across this beautiful land. But who is most at risk, and how can tradies and workplace owners mitigate these dangers when dealing with a possible asbestos problem?

 

The Threat to Tradies and Workers

Tradies, builders, and construction workers are particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure. Often working in environments where asbestos-containing materials may be present, these individuals face a heightened risk of inhaling asbestos fibres, leading to severe health consequences. The impact isn't limited to tradespeople alone; anyone near asbestos-laden sites, from project managers to office staff, is susceptible to exposure. All trades need to understand the risks and, if they suspect asbestos, call the experts to test and remove it safely. A professional asbestos removal expert can advise on the dangers and how the fibre can be safely removed without compromising your workers' and employees' safety and health. 

 

What Are the Consequences of Ignoring Asbestos Risks?

 

Health Implications - The health risks associated with asbestos exposure are severe and life-threatening. Asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, may take decades to manifest, making early prevention and awareness crucial.

 

Legal Problems - Ignoring asbestos risks exposes businesses and tradies to legal consequences. New Zealand has stringent regulations governing asbestos management, and failure to comply can result in substantial fines, imprisonment, and irreparable damage to a company's reputation.

 

The Financial Impact - Apart from legal penalties, the financial burden of compensating affected workers and their families can be overwhelming. Businesses may face skyrocketing insurance costs, loss of contracts, and potential bankruptcy due to neglecting asbestos safety.

 

How To Prioritise Asbestos Safety At Work

It’s important that tradies and businesses understand the dangers and that there are no more excuses for neglecting asbestos safety, it's essential to understand that prevention is entirely possible. Embracing a proactive approach involves:

 

Education and Training - Ensure that all staff, from management to on-site workers, undergo comprehensive asbestos awareness training. Recognising asbestos-containing materials and understanding safe work practices are fundamental to safeguarding lives.

 

Strict Compliance - Adhere to New Zealand's asbestos regulations diligently. From asbestos management plans to routine inspections, strict compliance is non-negotiable. It's time for businesses to prioritise health and safety with the same commitment as meeting project deadlines.

 

Professional Assessment - Conduct professional asbestos assessments with a qualified asbestos expert before commencing any renovation or demolition work. Identifying and managing asbestos-containing materials at the outset prevents inadvertent exposure during construction activities and can save money. Accidental contamination can end up costing businesses thousands while also putting the health and well-being of your workers at risk. It can also cause project budgets and deadlines to blow out substantially.

 

Encouraging Open Communication - Foster a culture of open communication where workers feel empowered to report potential asbestos risks without fear of reprisal. Encourage dialogue and emphasise the shared responsibility of creating a safe working environment for everyone involved in an open and friendly manner.

 

Preserving Lives Through Asbestos Education

 

New Zealand's tradies and businesses must acknowledge the gravity of asbestos risks and commit to a safety culture. With the knowledge that asbestos exposure is preventable, taking proactive measures today ensures a healthier and safer tomorrow for all workers. By prioritising asbestos safety, businesses comply with legal obligations and, more importantly, protect the lives of those who contribute to the nation's growth and prosperity. If in doubt, always call the experts to identify and advise on the best way forward with removal or encapsulation. Need advice? We are here to help! 


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