National training body says think about asbestos

The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is reminding not just contractors, but also those who commission building work to be carried out of the dangers of asbestos – following the case of a Welsh businessman fined for allowing the spread of asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

Peter Rees was selling a business unit in September 2012 when the purchasing company commissioned an asbestos survey, which showed large amounts of asbestos insulating boards in the unit. Instead of following the law and employing a qualified and licensed asbestos removal contractor, Mr Rees allegedly used a general contractor, resulting in asbestos dust being spread throughout the building, potentially risking the contractor’s life and initiating a major clear up operation in the process.

Craig Evans, General Manager of UKATA, said:

“To see another story where the failure of sticking to regulations when removing asbestos really does highlight the need for companies to be better trained and educated about the possible effects of being exposed to asbestos.”

Peter Rees, of York Road, Deganwy, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £7,400 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Determined to reverse the lack of awareness amongst some smaller contractors and tradesmen, UKATA has launched its own initiative to help combat the issue. Entitled ‘Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe’, the campaign sees UKATA members offering free asbestos training during September and October this year as means of highlighting the dangers of asbestos and the need for essential training for those who may encounter the substance. This campaign is predominantly aimed at small companies and individual tradespeople who may not otherwise have previously known about, or received such training.

Craig added:

“UKATA and its members feel so strongly on this issue that we felt we had to collectively do something practical to help tackle the issues surrounding the lack of asbestos awareness amongst tradespeople. 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 wider public.”