Not many people come across asbestos in their daily lives these days, as since the dangers were recognised very little is used except in very specialised applications. However, anyone who is likely to come across asbestos – a typical case would be anyone working on renovations of older properties or older industrial buildings – should get the proper training so that no one ends up being put at risk. The United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) have a variety of training programmes available to cover unlicensed and occasional removal of asbestos and Boss training deliver the courses either in situ or in the classroom.
Large projects require licensed removal
When a property contains large amounts of asbestos or even has it as its main construction material, a licensed asbestos removal firm must be called in. The UKATA training courses enables a person to assess the risks posed by asbestos and to make informed decisions about whether they will be able to safely remove it or whether they need to call in a licensed removal company. Smaller projects suitable for unlicensed removal would include drilling into decorative surfaces or removing old floor tiles. The knowledge imparted by the training gives the worker all the tools they need for carrying out a correctly judged risk assessment and proceeding in the correct manner.
Record keeping is a must
The UKATA designed training modules give useful help in keeping adequate records. This is useful at the time of course but is also invaluable if the job has to be revisited at any time. Accurate records can make the job easier the next time around and workers on the job will be able to write in all the necessary facts that will help those who come after. The Health and Safety Executive have very strict guidelines for the levels of asbestos allowed in the air and these readings play a large part in compiling a complete record. Monitoring methods must be well-taught as it is very important to get these right – the levels of asbestos are measured in fractions of fibres per cubic centimetre of air, so it is clear that there is little room for error. The monitoring equipment is not something that is likely to be encountered by staff in the general run of their work, so training in its use is very important.
Health and Safety Guidelines are very precise
The actual levels allowed under current legislation are that the concentration in the air is less than 0.6 asbestos fibres/cm3 over 10 minutes and that the person’s exposure will be less than 0.1 fibres per cm3. The individual’s exposure is the most important part of this record keeping, as it may be needed if any health issues appear in the future. Using the correct clothing and masks is covered by the asbestos training programme and this is something which must be followed to the letter. Dust suppression, waste handling and disposal and decontamination are all covered as are emergency measures should anything go wrong. The medical implications of asbestos exposure are proved beyond doubt and everyone involved, even tangentially and on odd occasions, owes it to themselves and colleagues to be totally up to date with all the legislation and best practice. There is no room for a weak link when something as dangerous as asbestos is being dealt with.
Confidence brings safety
The word ‘asbestos’ does tend to send a chill into the hearts of many and everyone has heard a story of someone dying as a result of asbestos exposure many years ago. Perhaps the highest profile victim of pulmonary mesothelioma (caused by asbestos inhalation) is Steve McQueen who died in 1980 aged just fifty. The source of the asbestos that ultimately killed him was never discovered, making it all the more tragic and this is often the case. The only way of working safely with asbestos is to treat it with respect and get proper training on how to handle it. It is very important to be confident when working with asbestos, however. The decontamination of clothing and debris at the end of the day has to be complete and competent and this training perhaps more than any of the many programmes Boss deliver across a range of construction techniques is the most important because skimping on the methodology of asbestos removal or handling can quite literally be fatal for the worker, their colleagues or even family if they go home with fibres on their clothes. Assessing the risks accurately is essential and erring on the side of caution is a good plan. However, no employer will thank anyone who constantly calls in licensed operatives when the asbestos could be dealt with in-house whilst taking the proper precautions. Refresher training can easily be kept up to date with convenient online asbestos awareness training.