Asbestos training could save lives

Tradesmen in Angus can now take advantage of hundreds of hours of free asbestos awareness training in a bid to tackle ignorance about Britain’s biggest industrial killer.

Seven hundred hours of face-to-face training during October and November have been pledged for tradesmen in Scotland, with an additional UK total of 5,570 hours of web-based training also available which includes courses in Romanian, Russian and Polish.

Between 1982 and 2008, 3,456 people died from asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, and it is hoped that training will help prevent it claiming another generation of tradesmen.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in partnership with industry, set a poignant target of 4000 hours of face-to-face training to be donated during September - one hour for each life lost to asbestos-related illnesses in an average year.

A target of a further 4000 hours of online training was also set.

But thanks to an overwhelming response from training providers across Britain, the combined target of 8,000 hours has been smashed by more than 50 percent. (see notes to editors)

The free training is aimed at those most likely to disturb the asbestos fibres as they go about their work - tradesmen such as joiners, electricians and plumbers, around 20 of whom lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases every week. The asbestos training pledge initiative is part of HSE’s Hidden Killer campaign to raise awareness that asbestos is not just an historical problem - around half a million non-domestic premises still contain it.

Alison Blake, Manager of Asbestos Action Tayside said: “What a fantastic response to be able to provide this very vital training!

“If only those suffering now, had the opportunity to undertake this kind of training, we wouldn’t be dealing with the devastation wreaked upon hundreds of families now.

“We urge all those eligible for the training to take it extremely seriously and grab the opportunity with both hands.

“We sincerely hope that having this awareness will help to stop this terrible disease, before it kills the next generation.”

Those wanting to sign up to free training, classroom-based or web-based can see what has been pledged by following links on HSE’s website www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/training-pledge