HSE asbestos beware app deemed unsatisfactory.

The HSE asbestos beware campaign has been criticised by UKATA for wrongly promoting tradesmen to take out asbestos work untrained.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) app was launched in October 2014 to increase awareness to asbestos and its dangers amongst tradespeople.  The app has been criticised by UKATA, the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association, saying they are disappointed with the app as it encourages untrained people to carry out asbestos removal.

UKATA said that the app supports tradespeople carrying out works with asbestos untrained, deeming it ok to do so if they have referred to the app. The app has been said to be developed without an asbestos trainer and UKATA cannot endorse or support the app.

The app doesn’t adequately present the risks associated with asbestos and works related to the deadly substance and does no follow the HSE’s own guidelines and guidance.

The app provides a decision making matrix in a similar style to a flow chart asking questions about the works to be carried out. It is designed to help tradespeople and workers protect themselves when undertaking common small common tasks where they may disturb asbestos. Although regulations do not require a licensed contractor to carry out this type of work, you must possess adequate training.

For high risk jobs likely to take over 2 hours it suggests finding a licensed contractor which demonstrates proper regulatory practise. However for jobs which still pose danger such as drilling holes in AIB (Asbestos Insulating Board), and works with non-licensed asbestos the app gives you instructions and information on what kit to be used. The app suggests that if you follow the instructions it is ok for an untrained worker to carry out the task but this is not the case and does not follow the HSE’s own guidelines.

UKATA said that the app encourages non trained people to perform the asbestos work. All work that will knowingly disturb asbestos will need to be carried out by a properly trained contractor in possession of Category A-Asbestos Awareness and Category B- Working with non-licensed asbestos training.

The HSE app needs to be made clear of these points so as not to encourage untrained tradespeople to partake in work with asbestos that could put their health in any danger.

HSE ensures that the app is not meant to replace content already on the website but just supplement the information in an easy to read and understand format, thus reducing work related death and illness. UKATA states that by promoting the app it is putting people at risk of exposure to asbestos and developing ill health.

UKATA has recommended the removal of the app before any damage is caused.

At Armco we stress the importance of adequate training in regards to asbestos. We offer comprehensive training in Asbestos Awareness (Category A) Working with non-licensed asbestos (Category B) and face fit testing training. Call 0161 761 44 24 or visit http://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/  to book your training course at our dedicated training facility in Bury, Manchester or a location convenient to you.

Published Feb 18, 2015
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