Hundreds of apprentices warned of asbestos danger

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MORE than 200 apprentice tradesmen have been made aware of the dangers of working with asbestos.

Durham County Council and New College Durham teamed up to organise a series of lectures for apprentice electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, joiners and decorators.

Further sessions are planned to take place next month, as part of work aimed at protecting the health of future generations of tradesmen and women.

About 4,000 people die each year from asbestos-related illnesses, including 1,446 in the North East between 1998 and 2008.

Asbestos can be found in many buildings which were built or refurbished before the year 2000.

But it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and the fibres are released into the air.

Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “We are working hard to ensure that local businesses have a better understanding of their duty to manage asbestos.

“We hope that the education we are providing will prevent more lives being put at risk.”

Graham Marr, lecturer from New College Durham, added: “New College Durham and Durham County Council are keen to develop the partnership into a rolling programme to safeguard future students from asbestos during their working lives.”

The lectures have been organised by the county college to build on the Health and Safety Executive’s Hidden Killer campaign, aimed at raising awareness about asbestos and reducing asbestos-related illnesses.