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Why You Need Asbestos Awareness Courses

Why You Need Asbestos Awareness Courses

Business owners who work in industries where employees could be exposed to asbestos have an obligation to keep them safe. An asbestos awareness course is one of the best ways to enhance your understanding and develop the required level of awareness to reduce the risk and implement safe working practices. The Health and Safety Executive stated that employers are legally obliged to provide suitable asbestos training to employees or they could be prosecuted.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a term given to a group of minerals which contain microscopic fibers. It has been widely used in construction for many years until the year 2000 when it was prohibited from use. Today, asbestos can prove to be one of the most dangerous substances that a person can encounter, particularly for those who work in the construction industry. One of the most concerning issues surrounding asbestos is that it doesn’t present itself for many years after exposure, often as long as 60 years.

Asbestos Dangers

The danger presents itself when material containing asbestos is damaged or disturbed. Over the years, work is carried out to buildings and through drilling, cutting, or ripping and when the material is disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air, which can lodge themselves into the lungs and over a period of time, cause fatal diseases.

Asbestos fibers are very narrow so they can be easily breathed in. They do not dissolve and they remain in the lungs for a considerable amount of time. All types of asbestos are dangerous, however some are more so than others. Brown and blue asbestos in particular have stiff and strong fibers, which become easily lodged into the lungs and the immune system cannot break them down. White asbestos is softer and more flexible so it can be cleared from the lungs. However prolonged exposure to this substance can still result in cancer.

Only through an adequate asbestos awareness course can you identify and take steps to significantly reduce the risk from asbestos in the workplace. In 2012 The Control of Asbestos Regulations were introduced. Suitable training will not only familiarize you with these regulations but also draw your attention to the risks associated with asbestos exposure.

Who Would Benefit from Asbestos Awareness Training?

There are many groups of tradespeople who are at risk of asbestos including plasterers, roofers, carpenters and joiners, shop fitters, demolition specialists, construction workers, building surveyors and architects, cable installers, and general maintenance professionals.

Asbestos can be found in a variety of settings including commercial and residential buildings, and it is present within a variety of materials including asbestos insulation boards (AIB), lagging, cement products that contain asbestos, sprayed and textured coatings.

Exposure to asbestos can result in a range of serious and often fatal health conditions such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural thickening, and asbestos related lung cancer.

Consequently, employers and employees should take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure. Training can help employers and employees identify whether it’s likely that asbestos will be present before you any work is commenced and whether you need to evaluate if any work needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor to make the area safe.

An asbestos awareness course will not only guide you through good practice in relation to asbestos, but you will also learn how to recognize asbestos and what to do in an emergency situation if you believe that you have accidentally drilled, sanded, or disturbed asbestos containing materials in any way. E-learning is one of the most effective and beneficial ways that you can deliver an asbestos awareness course because it can improve knowledge, increase competency, and enhance safety standards across your workforce.

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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.