Occupations at risk of Mesothelioma
Last Updated on 2 March 2023
The HSE statistics show historical exposure through the different occupations where both men and women where most at risk of developing mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos.
Occupations where men are at risk of Mesothelioma:
The occupations where men are most at risk from Mesothelioma are well known. These are carpenters, plumbers, electricians, construction and ship workers.
Understanding why these occupations are most affected is relatively straightforward. They are occupations where the men would encounter or use asbestos on a regular basis.
But probably more significant was the fact they worked in more confined or ‘smaller’ spaces, due to the nature of their work.
Asbestos was used as a building material because of its high density and fire retardant. Therefore construction workers are more likely to come into contact with the material.
Asbestos is the biggest ‘on the job’ killer for tradespeople in the UK.
Each week on average it kills 20 tradesmen, so don’t dismiss it as a thing of the past… it’s still a very real and dangerous threat.
Occupations where women are at risk of Mesothelioma:
Women historically appear to be mainly affected when they work in certain types of property rather than specific jobs, with one exception.
Nurses, school teachers and office workers show the highest incidences of Mesothelioma. This is because they work (or worked) in buildings which contain asbestos. Remember 85% of the UK’s schools STILL contain asbestos.
Cleaners are also heavily affected because they are cleaning products within buildings that contain asbestos. Their work allows them to disturb or ‘clean up’ asbestos products. These may include floor tiles, Artex type coatings, or products which have become damaged by other tradesmen and builders.
The changing work environment for men and women has altered. This may show through in later cases of the disease as we go forward over time.
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