Founder of the Asbestos in Schools Campaign Group, Michael Lees, has stated that each year, between 200 and 300 people who attended school during the 1960s and 1970s could potentially die as a result of their historical exposure to asbestos.
He was critical of a recently-released report by the Department for Education, which reviewed the current asbestos policy in UK schools. He was quoted as saying:
“The Government is unaware of the extent, type and condition of asbestos in our schools and the review has made no attempt to remedy this… Most of the asbestos remains in schools, and there is evidence the exposures continue.”
These concerns have confirmed the need in many people’s minds for asbestos awareness training, not only for people carrying out building and renovation work in schools, but also for head teachers.
Online asbestos awareness training courses
Asbestos awareness training courses are not onerous. They can be completed online in a matter of a few hours. There’s a short test at the end of the course to test a candidate’s knowledge, and a certificate is downloaded bearing the stamp of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA), which is recognised by the HSE.
It’s been a legal requirement for tradespeople to undergo this type of training if they are likely to come into contact with asbestos during their working day, meaning that plumbers, electricians, construction workers, even painters and decorators, have successfully completed asbestos awareness courses.
With asbestos potentially being present in nine out of ten UK schools, it seems only logical to include head teachers in a group who require more than a just passing idea of where asbestos could lie. They need to be able to recognise the material, understand the dangers it presents, and know when to call in a licensed contractor.