SHOCK figures have revealed 59 Wrexham tradesmen died from mesothelioma, caused by asbestos, between 1981 and 2005.
The statistics have just been released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Government body is running the Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign throughout November and aims to reduce the rising death rate by educating today’s tradesmen about the risks posed by exposure to asbestos.
Chantal Nicholls, HSE Wales’ principal inspector of construction, said: “We need to educate tradesmen about how asbestos and its dangers are relevant to them.
“We want them to change the way they work so that they don’t put their lives at risk.
“Exposure to asbestos is the biggest single cause of work-related deaths, with around 4,000 people a year dying from asbestos-related disease.
“The overall number of deaths is rising because a large number of workers who have already been exposed to asbestos dust around 40 years ago will go on to develop mesothelioma, a terminal cancer or other asbestos related diseases.
“Research shows that many workers, particularly tradesmen, think that they are not personally at risk of exposure to asbestos and the diseases it can cause.
They think that since asbestos was banned many years ago, the problem has been dealt with and therefore it is not relevant to them. The reality is very different.
“Even today asbestos presents a real and relevant risk to plumbers, joiners, electricians and many other maintenance workers.”
Posters and radio adverts will encourage tradesmen to get a free asbestos information pack by calling 0845 345 0055 or by visiting www.hse.gov.uk/ hiddenkiller for further information.