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HSE Asbestos Awareness for the Construction Industry and Small Businesses

The Health and Safety Executive is the body responsible for worker health and safety in the UK. As such, they ensure that employers fulfil their legal obligation to provide certain training courses for their workers.

HSE Asbestos Awareness training – what does it involve?

These courses can be taken online or within a classroom environment, and in the case of larger construction firms, there is often a schedule of health and safety instruction of which asbestos awareness forms a part.

All employers have a legal duty to provide this type of training to workers who might encounter asbestos during their normal workday. Whilst classroom courses are invaluable, the availability of e-learning often helps employers fulfil their training obligation, at the same time offering flexibility to employees who can take the course whenever they choose, whether in the workplace or at home.

All time spent on Asbestos Awareness e-learning is logged online, and a quiz is taken at the end which tests the candidate’s understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, a UKATA certificate is provided to verify that training has been completed, and this remains valid for 12 months.

Free HSE workshops in Lancashire

Although workers in the construction industry are at a higher risk than most of exposure to asbestos, the Health and Safety Executive is also obliged to bring awareness to small businesses in other sectors.

Small business owners are at great risk of coming into contact with asbestos if refurbishment is carried out in older premises, or during the installation of new computer and telecommunications equipment, for example.

As part of their effort to bring awareness of the dangers of asbestos to people in the construction industry and in other small businesses, HSE are holding a series of free half-day workshops in Lancashire during the coming weeks. This is part of the Working Well Together campaign in which the HSE and the UK construction industry have joined forces.

Intended to provide training and information on how asbestos damages peoples’ health, where the substance might be located within a building, and how to avoid being exposed to it, these short courses are officially accredited by the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA). They run between 4th June and 11th June 2015.

Why being aware of asbestos matters

The number of deaths from Mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer directly attributed to exposure to asbestos, rose to 2,535 in 2012 according to figures released by the Health and Safety Executive.

Although many deaths are the result of historical exposure to the substance, asbestos remains a significant threat to us all due to its continued presence in buildings constructed prior to 2000. The use of asbestos in the construction industry was banned in this country in 1999, but its use was so widespread during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that people are still being regularly exposed to it.

Asbestos in schools poses a particular risk, as people are generally unaware of its whereabouts. Often forming part of interior walls, asbestos fibres have been known to be released simply from using a drawing pin to display childrens’ art work.