Asbestos health and safety information from the HSE …
Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure
However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.
When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.
Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases:
Mesothelioma Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.
Asbestos-related lung cancer Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.
Asbestosis Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.
Pleural thickening Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.
Note: It is also important to remember that people who smoke, and are also exposed to asbestos fibres, are at a much greater risk of developing lung cancer.
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.
Mental health problems are usually defined and classified to enable professionals to refer people for appropriate care and treatment. But some diagnoses are controversial and there is much concern in the mental health field that people are too often treated according to or described by their label. This can have a profound effect on their quality of life. Nevertheless, diagnoses remain the most usual way of dividing and classifying symptoms into groups.
Most mental health symptoms have traditionally been divided into groups called either ‘neurotic’ or ‘psychotic’ symptoms. ‘Neurotic’ covers those symptoms which can be regarded as severe forms of ‘normal’ emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or panic. Conditions formerly referred to as ‘neuroses’ are now more frequently called ‘common mental health problems.’
Less common are ‘psychotic’ symptoms, which interfere with a person’s perception of reality, and may include hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else can. Mental health problems affect the way you think, feel and behave. They are problems that can be diagnosed by a doctor, not personal weaknesses.
Mental health problems are very common
As found by the APMS (2014), 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.
Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time.
How do mental health problems affect people?
Anxiety and depression can be severe and long-lasting and have a big impact on people’s ability to get on with life.
Between one and two in every 100 people experience a severe mental illness, such as bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, and have periods when they lose touch with reality. People affected may hear voices, see things no one else sees, hold unusual or irrational beliefs, feel unrealistically powerful, or read particular meanings into everyday events.
Although certain symptoms are common in specific mental health problems, no two people behave in exactly the same way when they are unwell.
Many people who live with a mental health problem or are developing one try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s reactions. And many people feel troubled without having a diagnosed, or diagnosable, mental health problem – although that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling to cope with daily life.
The word ‘depression’ is used in many different ways. Everyone can feel sad or down from time to time, but most people manage to cope and can recover without professional help. However, everyday ‘blues’ or sadness is not depression.
In this section the depression referred to is ‘clinical depression’. A person with clinical depression will feel depressed for longer periods of time (at least two weeks) and this will disrupt things in their life such as relationships or the ability to carry out their work. Clinical depression is a common but serious illness. People can recover, but depression may occur at another time in their life, often in response to stressful events or situations.
Although there are several different types of depression, there are a number of common symptoms. It is important to know that not every person who has depression will have all of these symptoms or the same severity of symptoms.
A person with clinical depression will have at least two of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
an unusually sad mood that does not go away;
loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable;
tiredness and lack of energy.
In addition, the person can have other symptoms, such as:
loss of confidence in themselves or poor self-esteem;