Adverts warning of the dangers of asbestos are to be reintroduced in the UK after they were discontinued last January. Due to Government cuts, the ‘Hidden Killers’ ad campaign was dropped under the Tory-led Government, despite outcry from the public, health experts and a number of charitable organisations.
The advert, launched in 2008 by the Executive and Safety Executive, along with communications agency MS&L, aimed to warn of the risks posed to workers in the construction industry when dealing with asbestos. Around 20 tradesmen die each week in the UK as a result of asbestos-related illnesses and the ad campaign aimed at preventing another generation from suffering from the affects of asbestos exposure. The campaign was so successful that the relevant pages on the HSE site experienced six times as many visitors.
The campaign received a great deal of recognition across Europa and was awarded a European Excellence Award and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. However, the plug was pulled on the campaign in 2008 amidst a number of Government cuts.
Since the advert was dropped, builders’ union Ucatt, along with MPs and various other campaigns have prompted the HSE to reinstate the campaign because of the very real dangers associated with asbestos. Ucatt leader, Guy George, stated: “A fresh phase of the campaign is long overdue. It saves lives.”
Mesothelioma is a huge problem in the UK and asbestos-related illnesses are the biggest workplace killer. As such, the Government must do everything in its power to warn people of the dangers that exist.