Many workers in the construction industry will have participated in Asbestos Awareness training at some point in their careers. An adequate level of asbestos awareness training is a legal requirement for those who could be disturbing the fabric of a building, or overseeing the work. The occupations most likely to require asbestos awareness training are demolition workers, electricians, roofing contractors, caretakers, and anybody else who could typically disturb the fabric of a building.
Beyond the legal requirement, should asbestos awareness training be forgotten about?
The answer is no. The chances are, if you’re sitting in a building that was built or even refurbished before the year 2000, you could be surrounded by a class 1 carcinogenic substance without even realising it.
Don’t panic though, asbestos is not a danger unless it is disturbed, and its microscopic fibres are released. Anybody who could be disturbing the fabric of a building should be aware of what asbestos is, the hazards it can place on those working near or around it, and the possible consequences of asbestos exposure.
Why is asbestos awareness training important?
Most asbestos awareness training is carried out purely to address the employer’s legal duty. Whilst this is a valid and important motivation for training, it means that training is often disregarded because there is no legal requirement for it. Oftentimes little thought is given to those who have been exposed to asbestos outside of the construction industry, such as teachers, office workers, DIY home-improvers, etc. Individuals in these groups have suffered asbestos exposure in the past because asbestos can be easily forgotten about when remembering isn’t a legal requirement.
Recent studies by the University and College Union suggest that over 75% of schools in the UK still contain asbestos – much of this is maintained poorly, allowing teachers, students, staff and guests to potentially become exposed to asbestos. Any disturbance in an asbestos-containing material could result in asbestos fibres being released into the air and entering the lungs, which can result in fatal consequences such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
An estimated 6 million tons of asbestos is still hidden in buildings around the UK today, from homes to schools and commercial properties. For more information about asbestos hazards outside of the workplace, read our post: ‘Is asbestos a hazard for workers outside of the construction industry?’
The importance of asbestos awareness training isn’t just for those in the construction trade – many more should be aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos can pose a risk to anybody, no matter if you encounter it at the workplace or on your own time. The dangers are just as present and can result in the same devastating effects.
If you know that your activities involve disturbing the fabric of a building, then asbestos awareness training should be considered an investment to protect the health of you and those working around you.
Contact us today to discuss your training needs and the options available for asbestos awareness training.
Asbestos Awareness (UKATA)
Asbestos awareness training is required to be given to employees whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos.