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Mon February 26 2024

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HSE reacts to asbestos campaign criticism

23 Feb 15 The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has expressed its ‘surprise and disappointment’ at criticism of its asbestos app.

Last week the directors of the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) said that the HSE app called Beware Asbestos could encourage untrained people to carry out asbestos removal work, rather than call in a licensed specialist contractor. (See previous report here.)

Kären Clayton, director of the HSE’s long latency health risks division, said: “HSE is surprised and disappointed that the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) appears to be arguing for the removal of free advice aimed at those who might otherwise remain unaware of the risks they face with regards to asbestos.

“HSE’s Beware Asbestos campaign is aimed at, and reaching, thousands of trades people and workers who undertake jobs on a daily basis that intentionally or unintentionally disturb asbestos. Many of these workers are ignorant of the risks they face when they carry out common tasks such as drilling holes in textured ceilings and replacing old panels around baths.  The web app takes already existing advice on how to do these tasks safely and presents it in an easy to understand way that workers can carry around with them. 

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“The web app is very clear in stating what jobs tradespeople must not do, and indeed helps them to find and contact licensed asbestos contractors in their area who can do those jobs for them.

“While commercially available training courses, such as those provided by UKATA’s members, play an important part in educating workers on what they must do, it is also vital that as many workers as possible know about the risk they face from asbestos and of the simple measures they can follow to protect themselves.  This is what the web app and the wider ‘Beware Asbestos’ campaign is all about.”

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