Asbestos awareness training involves providing those in the construction industry with the information, instruction and training to avoid disturbing asbestos and therefore reducing the risk of exposure to this highly dangerous material.

Why does asbestos awareness matter?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, despite being banned in the UK as a building material since 2000, asbestos continues to account for around 5,000 worker deaths a year, with 20 tradesmen a week dying from previous exposure.

Provided they remain intact, asbestos-containing materials pose little risk. However, once damaged or disturbed, tiny fibres can become airborne and are able to get into the lungs, which can lead to permanent and fatal damage that may take years or even decades to appear.

Who is asbestos awareness training for?

It is a duty of any employer to ensure that workers and supervisors who are likely to encounter asbestos are able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know what to do if they come across them in order to protect themselves and others.

Whilst asbestos awareness training is not intended to make workers competent in handling asbestos-containing materials, it is intended to provide them with sufficient information to identify the risk of exposure and take appropriate actions to manage this risk.

What does asbestos awareness training cover?

Asbestos awareness includes developing an understanding of:

  • The properties of asbestos, its effects on the health and the increased risk for those belonging to certain groups such as smokers.
  • The types, uses and likely occurrence of asbestos and asbestos materials within the construction environment, including both buildings and plant.
  • What measures to take in the event of an emergency involving the unintended release of Asbestos fibres.
  • How to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos.

The exact nature and extent of the asbestos awareness required will vary greatly depending on the specific nature of the work being done.

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