A warning has been issued to parents after asbestos was found in children’s crayons and crime scene toys imported from China into the United States. Tests on the toys and crayons were commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Group.
According to the Daily Mail, 28 boxes of crayons were tested, four of which contained asbestos. This deadly substance can cause a range of life-threatening illnesses including Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the lung linings.
It can be decades later when the after-effects are felt, however. The UK construction industry used asbestos on a wide scale from the 1950s until it was banned in 1999, and has suffered one of the highest numbers of worker deaths because of exposure to the substance.
Another industry with high exposure rates is shipbuilding. With the number of shipyards in operation during the 1970s, particularly in the north of England, it is unsurprising that many former shipbuilders have succumbed to chronic illness in various forms.
Avoiding the pitfalls of the past – online asbestos awareness training
If some employers knew about the dangers of asbestos in the past, many did not pass on the information necessary to keep their workers safe. Nowadays the scenario is very different, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clamping down on any unsafe practices and encouraging workers to report potential breaches of health and safety in relation to asbestos.
One of the biggest dangers is when asbestos is first discovered. Great care has to be taken to leave it undisturbed until a licensed contractor is called in to remove it safely. Some employers have been convicted by the HSE for instructing workers to complete this task when they are untrained, and potentially unaware of the risks they are taking with their health.
HSE asbestos certificates demonstrate your commitment to health and safety
Once you have successfully completed your asbestos awareness training, an HSE asbestos certificate becomes available for download. This can be printed off, and remains valid for a period of 12 months, after which time further training is recommended by the Health and Safety Executive.
The initial asbestos training courses last for around 90 minutes, and allow you to identify asbestos when you come across it, taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone in the vicinity safe.
Learning how asbestos was used, where it might be lying, and what to do should you come across it is invaluable not only from a health and safety perspective, but also in relation to your career development.
Additional UKATA online training to remain up-to-date
After the 12-month certificate has expired, HSE recommend further training on asbestos awareness. This might consist of another online course, but it is often undertaken as part of a general health and safety discussion with a manager or supervisor, and does not need to be as formal as the initial training.
Asbestos training courses bring you up-to-date with current best practices, and prepare you to deal with potential dangers safely.