How asbestos awareness training can help you at work

Asbestos Awareness Training Session image

Asbestos has caused severe illness and high mortality rates around the world for many decades, partly due to a lack of asbestos awareness among workers and their employers. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show in 2016 alone, 2,595 victims died from mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer attributed to asbestos exposure.

The nature of asbestos disease means that symptoms do not show themselves until many years after initial exposure, sometimes up to 50 or 60 years. This is why people who worked with asbestos in their early working lives are now suffering such devastating diagnoses.

Why were people not informed about asbestos?

The harmful effects of asbestos were reportedly covered up by large organisations in the past, and in some cases, employers were simply not aware of the potential health risks to employees.

Unlike today there was little in the way of asbestos awareness training, which explains the high number of deaths, not only amongst workers in industries directly related to asbestos, but also among those employed in schools, hospitals, libraries, and other public buildings.

Why asbestos awareness training could be vital for you as an employee

Many of the buildings constructed prior to the UK asbestos ban in 1999 still contain asbestos in some form. If the material in which it is encased degrades, or is inadvertently disturbed, you are at risk of breathing in deadly microscopic fibres and dust.

Reports of high levels of asbestos in schools, hospitals and other non-residential buildings are common and by law the duty-holder, which is usually the owner of the building, is obliged to employ licensed contractors to safely handle and remove it.

Asbestos training for construction trades, but what about workers in other industries?

If you are likely to come into contact with asbestos during your normal working day, your employer is legally obliged to provide asbestos awareness training. Although construction-related trades are most likely to require this type of instruction, a strong argument exists for employees in other industries to be made aware of the potential dangers they face.

School and hospital staff – indeed employees working in any commercial or industrial building constructed before the end of 1999 – could be at risk of inadvertently disturbing asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in their working environment.

What will you learn from a UKATA asbestos awareness training course?

The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) sets the standards for asbestos training in this country. Here are some of the areas covered by our half-day UKATA asbestos awareness courses:

  • What asbestos is and why it is dangerous
  • The products that contain asbestos
  • Where you might find asbestos or asbestos-containing products
  • Asbestos-related diseases
  • What to do in an asbestos emergency
  • Basic management of asbestos
  • Asbestos regulations overview

Acorn Analytical Services is an asbestos consultancy and a UKATA-approved training provider for asbestos awareness. To obtain an asbestos awareness quote or find out more about how we can help with any aspect of asbestos, please contact one of our highly trained consultants. Our services include, but are not limited to, asbestos testing, asbestos surveys, and asbestos removal.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Acorn Lower Service 39

Firms fined for asbestos exposure risk at scrap yard and naval training base

A number of workers and Royal Navy personnel were exposed to asbestos after pipes lined with the dangerous material were left on a roadside before being put in an open skip and transferred to a salvage yard, a court has heard. The pipes, lined with asbestos insulation, were removed from HMS Sultan naval training base … Read more

DSCF0003 1024x764 1

Council in court for ignoring asbestos threat in school

Thurrock Council has been fined after admitting to failures in how it managed asbestos across its schools. Basildon Crown Court heard today (1 March 2013) that despite being made aware of asbestos concerns in a boiler room at Stifford Clays Junior School, no action was taken. A specialist contractor tasked with carrying out an asbestos … Read more

Asbestos demolition 3

Building owner fined for asbestos exposure

An industrial property owner has been prosecuted for exposing untrained workers to dangerous asbestos fibres following a series of failings at a building in Newport. In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court heard today (21 February) that Mr Nasimul Karbani, from Middlesex, employed two workers and then helped … Read more

Management survey 1

Hospital trust in court for asbestos failures

A North East hospital trust has been fined after contractors were unwittingly exposed to asbestos fibres at Sunderland Eye Infirmary. Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard today that over the weekend of 24/25 March 2012, contractors at the infirmary on Queen Alexandra Road drilled through door surrounds on a ward to install cables. The following day concerns … Read more

Acorn Banners 23

Swansea engineering firm and building contractor fined for asbestos exposure

Workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres following a catalogue of errors by an engineering company and a building firm during a demolition and refurbishment project in Swansea, a court has heard. The project was badly managed, with untrained staff put in charge of the operation, and was underpinned by inadequate surveys for the presence … Read more