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Employers breached health and safety regulations by exposing plasterer to asbestos

Two firms in the Bristol area have been found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations following the death of a former employee from Mesothelioma in 2010.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the tissues of the lungs. Cancer Research UK state that the majority of cases are caused by exposure to asbestos, and that in excess of 2,500 cases are diagnosed in this country every year.

The Bristol Post reported that Mr Colin Sheppard, an employed plasterer, had removed ceiling boards containing asbestos during the refurbishment of two high street banks between 1978 and 1992.

Although the companies concerned denied that asbestos had been present in the ceiling boards, the judge concluded that their claims were “incredible and incapable of belief.”

Who is most at risk from asbestos?

Tradespeople are at constant risk of coming into contact with asbestos in their line of work. Plasterers, plumbers, electricians, or any of the hundreds of other trades in the UK could be affected. Indeed, any worker refurbishing or carrying out repair work or new installations within commercial or residential buildings constructed prior to 2000 is at risk.

In 2000, the use of asbestos was finally made illegal in the UK, but its lethal legacy continues to affect not only tradespeople, but anyone working in ‘older’ buildings.

Asbestos is unlikely to be harmful if left undisturbed, but even simple actions such as pinning up children’s art work in a classroom can cause asbestos fibres and dust contained within the walls to be released.

The case of Mr Sheppard highlights the lack of control over health and safety in some workplaces. Undergoing the necessary training to be aware of the likely locations of asbestos within a building is essential if you are a self-employed tradesperson; a legal obligation if you are an employer.

Asbestos Awareness online courses

Asbestos Awareness courses can be taken in a classroom environment, but the online versions remain popular due to their flexibility and ease of completion. You can learn about the dangers of asbestos, where it might be lying, what it looks like, and what to do should you come across the substance, all from the comfort of your own home at a time to suit you.

In general, online courses take around 90 minutes to complete, and include a quiz at the end which tests your understanding of the content. It is not just about knowing where asbestos might be lying, however – understanding what to do if you find it is equally important and will keep you and those around you safe from deadly asbestos dust and fibres.

UKATA certified courses

On successful completion of our online course, you will be able to download a UKATA certificate. This confirms the fact that you have undertaken training, and lasts for 12 months.

The UKATA sets high standards for training providers. Bainbridge e-Learning continues to keep course content updated, meeting the stringent guidelines set by UKATA.