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blog-img 05
Apr

Asbestos in the Workplace: Staying Aware

Posted by David Jones

Employers have a duty to make sure that their staff are safe. This would involve at the very least, providing adequate instruction, information, and training to employees who may be in contact with materials containing asbestos. Ensuring they can work safely as they go about their daily activities and that their actions do not present a risk to themselves or others.

Employees should be able to recognise asbestos containing material (ACM) and immediately know what to do if they encounter it.

It is very important that the information and training provided to employees is appropriate for the work and roles carried out by each employee. A Training Needs Analysis will help identify which topics need to be covered to ensure that employees complete the training with the right level of knowledge.

The information and training issued to employees in relation to asbestos awareness should equip them with the knowledge and expertise they need to avoid any actions that will disturb asbestos during their normal duties.  Awareness training is not sufficient to prepare workers or contractors to carry out work with asbestos containing materials. If the employee or contractor is going to work on such materials and they will be disturbed, damaged, drilled or sanded, they will need further training which educates them on how to work safely with asbestos.

Asbestos awareness will often cover the following topics:

  • Asbestos properties and its implications on health such as the development of lung cancer for asbestos workers
  • The way in which asbestos is used, the various types of asbestos and what materials asbestos is found in
  • The procedures that you should follow when dealing with an asbestos emergency, such as the uncontrolled or unintentional release of fibres
  • How to avoid or reduce the risk of asbestos exposure.

e-Learning is increasingly being used as a method of providing comprehensive asbestos awareness training and it is a convenient, practical and efficient way of distributing information to all kinds of employees and contractors.

In addition, employers who are working with asbestos have a duty to ensure that people visiting the premises are provided with sufficient information including:

The location of the work where asbestos is concerned

Risks associated with working in corridors or around fire exits as a result of the asbestos work

Any other useful information that will help visitors or people who are not employed by the company to avoid the risks and prevent asbestos containing materials from being disturbed

Asbestos training should help workers avoid situations that could release asbestos fibres. Once employees have been trained, they should have the required competency and level of knowledge to recognise and know what to do if they come into contact with asbestos containing materials.

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