Free as­bestos help for trades­peo­ple

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

DIY en­thu­si­asts and trades­peo­ple will be of­fered free as­bestos safety train­ing that could save lives, thanks to a na­tional cam­paign by the UK As­bestos Train­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (UKATA).

The Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe cam­paign will see UKATA mem­bers of­fer free as­bestos train­ing in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to high­light the dan­gers of as­bestos and the need for es­sen­tial train­ing for those who may en­counter it.

The cam­paign is pre­dom­i­nantly aimed at small com­pa­nies and trades­peo­ple who may not oth­er­wise have pre­vi­ously known about, or re­ceived, such train­ing.

“In the last few years, our mem­bers have de­liv­ered over half a mil­lion as­bestos train­ing cour­ses but we are all too aware there are still thou­sands of trades­peo­ple who have not re­ceived train­ing of any kind,” said Craig Evans, gen­eral man­ager of UKATA. “They are at risk of in­ad­ver­tently com­ing into con­tact with deadly fi­bres if they dis­turb as­bestos and for this rea­son, our mem­bers are gen­er­ously of­fer­ing free train­ing, at their own ex­pense.”

Ev­ery week in the UK, 20 trades­peo­ple die from dis­eases caused by ex­po­sure to as­bestos fi­bres as long ago as the 1950s through to 1983, when strict safety guide­lines were in­tro­duced.

The weekly toll in­cludes eight join­ers, six elec­tri­cians and four plum­bers, with ex­perts pre­dict­ing the UK’s as­bestos death rate of 5,000 will soar in the next five years.

Dam­age to the lungs from as­bestos in­hala­tion can lay dor­mant for 50 years and a huge num­ber of late-stage cases are about to be di­ag­nosed, says UKATA.

UKATA mem­bers be­lieve of­fer­ing free as­bestos aware­ness train­ing is a way of de­liv­er­ing the mes­sage to this sec­tor of in­dus­try.

“UKATA mem­bers feel so strongly we felt we had to do some­thing prac­ti­cal to help tackle the is­sues sur­round­ing the lack of as­bestos aware­ness,” added Mr Evans.

“We can’t change the past but we can change at­ti­tudes now and we feel this is a great way to con­vey the mes­sage on the dan­gers of as­bestos to the public.”

The legacy of more than half a cen­tury of ex­po­sure to as­bestos at work is about to be seen in thou­sands of for­mer ship-builders, boil­er­mak­ers, builders, plum­bers, teach­ers, nurses and their fam­i­lies.

Mesothe­lioma alone is thought to be silently af­flict­ing one in ev­ery 100 men born in the 1940s in the UK, and Guy’s Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don has pre­dicted 100,000 peo­ple in the de­vel­op­ing world who are alive now will die from the con­di­tion.

UKATA sets stan­dards in as­bestos train­ing and en­sures mem­bers meet stan­dards.

It launched its new cam­paign at the Safety and Health Expo, from June 16-18, at Ex­cel, Lon­don.

UKATA will be pro­mot­ing the free train­ing with a na­tional media cam­paign and, in a fur­ther move, has re­cruited Vic­to­ria Castel­luc­cio as mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the new ini­tia­tive.

For fur­ther de­tails about the free train­ing in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, visit the UKATA web­site at www.


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