Asbestos – A Hidden Hazard and a Silent Killer

Asbestos Hidden Hazard

Why is asbestos so dangerous?

In the United Kingdom alone, asbestos is the cause of more than 4500 deaths per year.  The Health and Safety Executive estimates that 20 tradesmen die every week from exposure to asbestos in their line of work.  Those deaths represent the largest group of work-related deaths. Many more are left with chronic conditions that affect quality of life and the ability to continue working. Providing online asbestos training is key in making workers aware of this silent killer. These asbestos related deaths are attributed to 4 main occupational diseases:

  1. Asbestosis
  2. Asbestos-related lung cancer
  3. Mesothelioma
  4. Plural thickening

When was asbestos banned in the uk?

Asbestos use peaked in the 1970 and was used in construction materials until 1999.  There are 3 main types of asbestos and it was believed that different types of asbestos were more hazardous than other forms and as such brown and blue asbestos (amosite & crocidolite) were banned in 1985. This left white asbestos (crysotile) still being used, and in 1999 white asbestos was banned completely in all construction material and therefore from 2000 asbestos asbestos contaning material could not be used in any refurbishment or new construction projects.

Where can asbestos be found?

The first step to preventing asbestos exposure is being aware of what materials might contain asbestos (known as asbestos containing materials ACMs). There are many materials that were routinely used prior to 2000 that contained asbestos and below a few of these materials are listed:

  • Garage Roof Sheeting
  • Fire Stop Between Walls in Building
  • Floor Tiles
  • Lagging (especially around pipes in boiler rooms)
  • Insulation Board
  • Electricity fuse Boxes
  • Boiler Flues and Gaskets

So who is asbestos awareness training suitable for?

Workers who are predomantly involved in maintenance and other similar trades are most at risk of exposure from asbestos containing materials.  These  workers could include:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Construction workers
  • Architects
  • Gas installers
  • Painters and decorators
  • Carpenters
  • Caretakers
  • Telecoms engineers

It’s being aware of the materials and what to do that is critical and asbestos prevention training will provide that level of information and instruction.

What do I need to do?

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012  has implicit requirements for dutyholders to ensure that those who are liable to be exposed to Asbestos while at work carrying out their normal routine activities MUST receive appropriate information, instruction and asbestos training. In the industry this initial training is known as Asbestos Awareness Training Part A.

It is important to note that asbestos awareness training will be insufficient for those who will work directly with asbestos containing materias which could be licensed or un-licensed asbestos work.

Take action today to protect yourself and your employees. Have a look at our tutor led, interactive online asbestos training and ensure that although Asbestos is known as the silent killer, it need not be.


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