Unite launches asbestos awareness campaign

Unite launches asbestos awareness campaign

19 January 2015

Members of Britain’s largest union, Unite who think they’ve been exposed to asbestos are being urged to join the union’s asbestos register as part of campaign by the union to raise awareness about the silent killer.

Past exposure to asbestos as a result of corporate negligence kills around 5,000 people a year according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The true figure is likely to be much higher, and is on the rise according to Unite. 

The register already contains the details of over 11,000 Unite members and has been developed to identify members who were employed by the same company, or on the same site, to support personal injury claims for members who have developed asbestos related diseases.

While asbestos was banned in 1999, it is still present in many buildings where people work and presents a major hazard if it is not managed properly. As part of the campaign the union is issuing new guidance to safety reps on dealing with asbestos at work. 

Commenting, Unite national officer for construction John Allott said: “Asbestos may be banned from being used in buildings, but it hasn’t gone. The impact of this silent killer is on the rise, which is why we are urging members who think they have been exposed to asbestos to get on the register. 

“It is shocking that around 5,000 people die every year from asbestos related diseases because of corporate negligence. Employers have a duty to prevent exposure of their employees to asbestos and members who have developed an asbestos related disease should get in touch with Unite legal services.  

“Raising awareness about this killer substance s equally important though. That is why our campaign is also about prevention and why we are issuing new guidance to our health and safety representatives to help ensure that employers protect their employees from exposure to asbestos at work.”

Unite has published and online campaign pack on asbestos for Unite members.


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey