In a powerful display of solidarity and awareness, the renowned Wainhouse Tower will be illuminated in blue on Friday, July 7, to mark Action Mesothelioma Day. This symbolic gesture aims to draw attention to the hazards of asbestos and emphasise the significance of health and safety in the workplace.

Calderdale Council has pledged its support for the national “Go Blue for Meso” campaign, led by the Yorkshire and Humberside Asbestos Victims Support Group. The campaign seeks to illuminate numerous iconic buildings across the region in a vibrant shade of blue.

The initiative primarily aims to raise awareness about mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by inhaling asbestos particles. By shining a spotlight on this terminal disease, the campaign seeks to pay tribute to those affected by it and underscore the council’s unwavering commitment to health and safety.

Across the country, thousands of individuals succumb to asbestos-related diseases annually. Typically, symptoms manifest several decades after asbestos exposure and commonly include a persistent cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Although asbestos was extensively used between the 1940s and 1970s, and subsequently banned by the government, approximately 1.5 million workplaces in the UK still contain various forms of asbestos-containing materials.

Councillor Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, emphasised the ongoing danger posed by asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that asbestos claims the lives of approximately 5,000 workers every year in the nation, surpassing the number of fatalities caused by road accidents.

Mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs and the lower digestive tract, is predominantly linked to asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, by the time it is diagnosed, it is often too late to pursue effective treatment. Councillor Swift stressed the importance of taking immediate measures to safeguard oneself, while also urging employers and building owners to fulfil their duty of care to employees and communities by responsibly managing asbestos. The “Go Blue for Meso” campaign serves as a platform to disseminate these vital messages.

Councillor Silvia Dacre, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, reiterated the council’s commitment to maintaining the safety and well-being of their staff and local communities. Adhering to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the council’s teams diligently fulfil their statutory obligations to ensure that no employee, contractor, or member of the public is inadvertently exposed to asbestos fibres. Moreover, the council’s dedicated Health and Safety team provides comprehensive work-related health advice, training, inspections, and policies.

The tragedy surrounding the deaths associated with the asbestos-processing factory in Hebden Bridge, which operated from 1939 and was investigated in the 1970s, further emphasises the imperative nature of prioritising health and safety in the workplace. On this Action Mesothelioma Day, it is crucial to acknowledge the role played by local individuals in bringing to light the devastating issue of asbestos exposure.

As the Wainhouse Tower bathes in an ethereal blue glow, it stands as a beacon of awareness, calling attention to the dangers of asbestos and the significance of fostering a culture of health and safety within workplaces across the region and beyond.