Demolition works at the Earls Court Exhibition centres have raised concerns about how asbestos has been removed from the site, and the potential danger to health for those living and working in the area.
Members of the London Assembly have called for an investigation into the works which began at the end of 2014. The presence of asbestos means that licensed contractors must be hired to remove it, following strict guidelines as laid down by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Asbestos survey and risk register
London Assembly members have accused the developers of failing to publish the asbestos survey and risk register publicly, suggesting that this would have offered reassurance to local residents that asbestos was being dealt with appropriately.
In their letter they said:
“Residents require transparency in order to give them confidence that hazardous substances, such as asbestos in Earls Court One, are being dealt with safely.”
The developer company replied that works had been carried out “to high Health and Safety and Environmental standards, and in accordance with current legislation.”
What are the dangers of exposure to asbestos?
Breathing in asbestos dust and fibres can lead to a range of diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma – a rare cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. There have been recent cases of asbestos being unwittingly disturbed within school buildings, in some instances simply by puncturing internal walls with a drawing pin to display childrens’ artwork.
Other illnesses caused by asbestos include pleural disease and asbestos-related lung cancer. The Health and Safety Executive stipulate that only contractors with the appropriate training can undertake the removal of asbestos – either non-licensable or licensable work.
Asbestos training courses
The training mentioned above is known as Category ‘B’ and Category ‘C’ training respectively, with Category ‘A’ training covering awareness of the dangers of asbestos. Asbestos awareness training is vital for anyone likely to encounter the substance during their normal working day, and covers all you need to know to stay safe at work, including:
- What asbestos looks like
- Its potential effect on health
- Asbestos Containing Materials
- Where the substance is likely to be found within residential and commercial buildings
- How to deal with an emergency
UKATA online training is flexible, and takes only around 90 minutes in total to complete. You’ll be able to work on the course at home, or at work should your employer offer this facility.
UKATA is the UK Asbestos Training Association, and sets the standards that must be met by training providers. They ensure that all course materials are current, using up-to-date legislation and practices as the basis of teaching.
Health and Safety asbestos certificate
On successful completion of the course each candidate receives an HSE asbestos certificate by email. The certificate is also downloadable at the end of the final quiz, and is valid for a period of 12 months after which further training is recommended.