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Asbestos Awareness – a Europe-wide issue

The high quality of asbestos training courses in the UK reflects the serious consequences of being exposed to the substance and the many asbestos containing materials still present in our buildings.

UKATA online training courses enable workers to identify the material, understand the risks of it being disturbed, and know why they should call in specialist contractors to deal with its removal.

An HSE asbestos certificate is provided at the end of each course, which demonstrates compliance with their requirements, and shows a strong commitment to health and safety on the part of each candidate.

According to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), 80% of schools in this country still harbour asbestos. Add to that the number of commercial and residential buildings constructed prior to 2000 when asbestos was banned in the UK, and the seriousness of this issue can be appreciated.

‘Freeing Europe Safely from Asbestos’

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 300,000 people in the European Union are expected to lose their lives to Mesothelioma by 2030. This aggressive type of cancer attacks the lining of the lungs and has been attributed to asbestos exposure.

A joint conference being held by the EESC and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) to discuss the problem, follows on from the EESC’s ‘Opinion on Asbestos’ which was released earlier this year.

This report highlighted the need for asbestos awareness in the workplace, and called for insurance companies and compensation firms to simplify their approach to the proof needed by victims.

“The EESC calls on the Commission to draw up programmes and awareness-raising activities on asbestos-related risks and the need for appropriate training for all staff likely to be affected by ACMs.”

In many cases, exposure to asbestos took place several decades earlier, when the dangers were either not fully understood or they were ignored by employers. Because of the intervening decades, it can be difficult for victims and their families to prove that the illness has been caused by asbestos, and to find former co-workers who could corroborate what happened.

Why asbestos is so dangerous

Asbestos containing materials include many household items such as lagging for pipe work, old central heating boilers, even ceiling tiles and floor coverings. In commercial buildings, insulation boarding was widely used for partition walls. If this is punctured or otherwise damaged, the fibres are released into the air presenting significant danger to anyone in the vicinity.

Asbestos poses a particular danger to tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians and heating engineers. Those working in the construction industry or on the renovation and refurbishment of older houses could easily come across the substance whilst carrying out their work.

Asbestos training courses are quick and easy to complete. They arm workers with the knowledge needed to avoid the danger, and keep those around them safe. Once released, asbestos dust can spread quickly to other parts of a building, which is why it is imperative to call in specialist contractors to deal with the problem.