Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that has been a popular insulating material since the 1950's and can be found in many buildings built before 2000. The fibrous material was often mixed with other products to create Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM's) that have been used in all aspects of the construction trade.
If left undisturbed and in good condition asbestos is extremely safe, in fact low levels of asbestos fibers can be found in the atmosphere everyday. However, when the material is damaged unsafe levels of fibers are released into the environment that can lead to the development of serious diseases to anyone who happens to be working nearby.
Asbestos, otherwise known as 'the hidden killer', often takes a long time to develop into a serious illness but once diagnosed it can be almost impossible to recover from – so great importance is being placed upon the need to protect yourself now.
It is essential to ensure that any training is delivered by a provider who adheres to the approved codes of practice set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is paramount that all asbestos awareness training should be provided by:
"Someone who is competent to do so and who has a theoretical knowledge of all relevant aspects of the work being taken out by the employer"
(Regulation 10 of the Approved Code of Practice L143).
Having an awareness of the inner-workings of the company will ensure that thorough training can be undertaken and the risks of exposure to asbestos will be reduced.
The Health and Safety Executive is currently working with training associations and trade associations to ensure that there are universally high standards set when it comes to training providers
The Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP) website offers a useful platform for companies seeking asbestos training to find a fully qualified training provider. In order to be included on the IATP website training providers must submit documentary evidence supporting their compliance with all the necessary regulations and where necessary proof of independent and external audits.
Training will often take place within a dedicated location encompassing both theoretical and practical approaches to efficiently guard both yourself and your employees against asbestos related diseases.
Once trained, it is critical that construction workers take part in a yearly refresher course if necessary, these can often be transported out via e-learning training websites, minimizing both the course cost and time that labor spends away from site.