Public Sector Workers Urged to Become More Asbestos Aware
- Date: Thursday 10th January 2019
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The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) has urged all public sector employees to be aware of the dangers of asbestos in order to prevent the "ticking time0bomb" in thousands of public buildings.
UKATA has warned that a lack of knowledge about the killer building material is putting workers and users of these buildings at risk of fatal lung cancers.
Figures recently released by the HSE show there were 2,595 Mesothelioma deaths in 2016, with a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos.
Many public buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000 may contain asbestos, particularly those built in the UK between the 1950s and 1980s.
“Financially it is not always an option or necessary to remove asbestos from buildings which contain it,” said UKATA Chief Operating Officer, Craig Evans.
“However, people need to be aware of the presence of it and more importantly how to manage it.
“School caretakers are a particular group at risk due to the nature of their work which involves undertaking minor repairs of school buildings. If asbestos is disturbed during such work, there is a risk that asbestos fibres will be released and create risk to others in the school.
“Asbestos awareness is critical and why we are calling on all employees within the public sector to receive asbestos awareness training.”
Last month, the National Education Union (NEU) warned that delays to the Government’s survey on asbestos in schools were “totally unacceptable”.
The Department for Education (DfE) reopened its asbestos management assurance process, which asks schools to declare whether or not they are compliant with their legal duty to manage asbestos on their sites
Schools now have until February 2019 to take part in the survey, although it is not mandatory.
“As the effects of asbestos remain dormant for a number of years, people are unaware of the risk they have exposed themselves to until the symptoms present themselves and it is often too late. Being asbestos aware shouldn’t just be confined to the facility manager,” added Mr Evans.
SSG offer the half day Asbestos Awareness course. Please contact us for more information and available dates.