If you’re a lover of DIY you may not be aware, but there’s a potential risk to your health and safety if you work on a property that was built before 2000. The prolific use of asbestos in the construction industry means that deadly fibres and dust could be released if an asbestos-containing material (ACM) is disturbed.
These same issues are faced every day by tradespeople, but employers in the UK are now legally bound to offer asbestos training to their staff to help mitigate the risks. An asbestos ban was introduced in this county at the end of 1999, which means that any building constructed prior to this could contain asbestos in some form.
Where are the most likely places to find ACMs in a domestic property?
One of the most common areas to find asbestos, particularly in houses built during the 1980s, is within the decorative textured coatings on the ceilings and walls that were popular at that time.
Other household products could include:
- Lagging for pipes
- Central heating boilers
- Water tanks
- Toilet seats and cisterns
- Ceiling tiles
- Vinyl flooring
- Partition walling
- Fuse boxes
Asbestos was also widely used on the roofs of garages and other outbuildings, in guttering and downpipes, and within roofing felt. Some of these products release asbestos fibres easily if disturbed, a topic you’ll learn all about if you undergo asbestos awareness training.
How asbestos awareness training can keep you safe
This type of asbestos training provides the knowledge and understanding needed to protect your health. You’ll find out about the different types of asbestos, how likely they are to have disintegrated over time, what happens if you inhale the dust and fibres, and what to do if asbestos is inadvertently released into your home.
Asbestos awareness courses are available online, or in a face-to-face setting. They generally take around 90 minutes to complete, and there is a short test at the end which makes sure you understand all the content.
E-learning is a popular way to take the course, largely due to its flexibility. You can work at your own pace and complete the course when it suits you, rather than be tied to attending a weekly class.
UKATA online learning
The UK Asbestos Training Association, or UKATA, assesses each course offered by its members to ensure the content is relevant and up-to-date. They also offer a downloadable certificate on successful completion.
UKATA’s General Manager, Craig Evans, has said:
“About 5,000 people a year still die from asbestos related illnesses in the UK. At UKATA, we are striving to get the message across that professional training can change the way today’s workers operate so they don’t put their lives at unnecessary risk.”
The same applies to anyone carrying out DIY tasks in their own home. Enthusiasts are equally at risk of inhaling asbestos fibres, setting up diseases that can prove to be life-threatening decades later.