Why Tokyo 2020 needs to take action on the asbestos-exposed environments it harbours

The Olympics have some of the most stringent health and safety requirements available and in an ideal world, these would lead to good standard outcomes. However, the poor safety record in Qatar is an example of how the time demand and project strains on major sporting event construction projects can lead to the health and wellbeing of workers being disregarded.

Whilst Japan’s record on health and safety is generally good, some issues have crept up in the preparation to Tokyo 2020. But what exactly are the issues and why are they a danger from a health and safety perspective?

Asbestos exposure threatens the health and safety of athletes and spectators

The asbestos has been detected at the Japan Olympic water polo venue. The government has now said it will take immediate action in removing the asbestos to make sure the event is safe for both athletes and spectators. The material was detected in 2017, however, no ‘imidate action’ was deemed necessary due to the location of the asbestos. This is an unfortunate example of how beurcratic oversight can create dangerous situations for members of the public.

Other safety concerns are yet to be addressed

In addition to the presence of asbestos, other safety concerns have also been raised in Japan. The marathon event has had to be relocated due to fears over what the potential heat may have on athletes. Other safety concerns may also be raised in the rush to complete the Olympic infrastructure in time for the games.

How asbestos threatens people’s health

Asbestos is a dangerous substance that is a known carcinogenic that is responsible for roughly 90,000 deaths yearly worldwide. It is also thought that up to 125 million people are at risk of occupational exposure to the substance. Asbestos is known to cause lung cancer, breathing issues and Mesothelioma.

Addressing asbestos concerns within your workplace

It appears that Tokyo is finally taking steps to improve the health and safety of the Olympics through extracting the present asbestos and looking more into the health of athletes competing in the games. It is also crucial that your business takes the necessary steps to minimise your exposure to asbestos.

If you are in the home renovation business, ensure you measure the level of asbestos that may be present within the property you are developing. Equally, if you are a business who’s employees routinely operate in asbestos-exposed environments, ensure the right equipment is being warned and training is given to reduce the threat of exposure to your workers.

Zoe Kickhefer