Asbestos is a known carcinogen that has been used for centuries, and was popularised in the 19th century in the construction and automotive industries. Because of its popularity many years ago, workers to this day unfortunately still come into contact with asbestos, which is incredibly dangerous if not handled properly, or disturbed.
With that said, the 1st of April marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW), an awareness campaign that aims to educate people on the importance of preventing exposure to asbestos.
A Dutch philosopher once said…
Prevention is better than cure.
In hopes of a successful awareness campaign, we wanted to play our part in ensuring that those who might come into contact with asbestos, or those who oversee them, are aware of some practical tips to preventing asbestos exposure.
Additionally, we want to share a number of our free resources and blog posts in hopes that they can make our audience more aware of the dangers of asbestos.
Practical tips for employers
According to the HSE, before your organisation starts any work in a building that could contain asbestos, you must do the following…
Identify the presence of asbestos
Those who are responsible for the maintenance of the building you’re going to work on have a duty to manage the asbestos in the building, and hence must inform you of the location of any asbestos in the building and what condition it is in.
However, if you’re unable to obtain any information, you should have the building professionally surveyed. Or, as a final alternative, treat all materials in the building like they obtain asbestos and take high-risk precautions throughout all areas of your work.
Complete a risk assessment
Firstly, you should work out whether you can complete your job without disturbing any asbestos at all.
In the event that it’s not possible to avoid disturbing asbestos, you should find out who is going to be exposed and decide what work methods are necessary to provide effective control of the risks.
Decide if the work needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor
If the job involves removing asbestos, or you’re working with sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos lagging, asbestos insulation, and asbestos insulating board (AIB) you will almost certainly require a professional contractor holding a licence from HSE.
Decide if the work needs to be notified
All non-licensed work needs to be carried out with appropriate controls in place. Although, for some types of work, there are additional requirements employers must meet. This is known as notifiable non-licensed work or NNLW. It requires employers to notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority, identify areas where the work is being done, ensure medical examinations are carried out, and maintain registers of work.
When deciding if the work is being notified, there are a number of factors to consider that the HSE talks about in detail here.
Ensure your employees are suitably trained
According to the HSE…
Any worker who is liable to disturb asbestos during their day-to-day work needs to receive appropriate training to enable them to protect themselves and others.
There will be more on our Asbestos Awareness Training below.
Asbestos-related blogs & resources
Over the years, we’ve put together a number of useful blog posts and resources surrounding key areas of asbestos awareness, including risks of exposure, the history of asbestos, and the importance of asbestos awareness training.
We even have a dedicated Asbestos Awareness FAQs & Resources page that answers questions surrounding asbestos awareness that we’re commonly asked. Additionally, it includes a short PDF on the UK regulations surrounding asbestos.
Here is a list of asbestos-related blog posts that you mind find useful...
- A Complete Guide to Asbestos
- When a great idea kills
- Why IATP and IOSH are just as important as UKATA
- Effective Asbestos Awareness Training - A life saver?
- Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?
- Why Do You Need Asbestos Awareness Training?
Online Asbestos Awareness Training
Here at iHASCO, we offer an IATP and IOSH Approved Online Asbestos Awareness Training course that provides the user with information surrounding what asbestos is, where it might be found, and the necessary emergency procedures following asbestos exposure.
The course, which can be completed in 31 different languages, only takes 35 minutes to complete and provides the user with a printable certificate upon completion.
Want to see the quality of the course for yourself? Claim a free, no-obligation trial today!