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Asbestos training collapses to a third of pre-Covid levels

21 Sep 20 The decline of organised training delivered across the construction industry in 2020 is highlighted by new data from the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA).

UKATA chief operating officer Craig Evans
UKATA chief operating officer Craig Evans

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, asbestos training in the UK construction industry has sunk to its lowest level for five years.

Up until February 2020, an average of 18,000 workers a month completed asbestos training. Between March and August, an average of just 6,000 workers a month undertook asbestos training delivered by UKATA-approved training providers, a fall of more than 66%.

UKATA chief operating officer Craig Evans said: “Our concern is health and safety training is being overlooked as construction sites push to make up for time lost during the lockdown. This not only increases construction workers’ risk of exposure to deadly asbestos but also the buildings’ users.”

The HSE recommends that asbestos refresher training courses should be undertaken to help ensure knowledge of asbestos awareness is maintained. The asbestos regulations also make it clear that asbestos training for non-licensable and licensable asbestos works should be carried out at least annually.

To ensure asbestos training continues to be accessible during the pandemic, UKATA has approved its courses to be delivered remotely by video conference platforms.

Craig Evans added: “It is now vitally important that all construction employers and workers ensure that all asbestos training is up-to-date. These are difficult times, but this is a matter of life or death.”

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