Safety Spotlight: Asbestos Awareness & Control of Hazardous Substances

As part of April’s Hazard of the MonthHazardous Substances, we’re highlighting two key areas: Asbestos Awareness and Control of Hazardous Substances.

Asbestos Awareness

Infographic about the impacts of asbestos as described in the textThe Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012’ mandates that all individuals who may come into contact with asbestos fibres at work must be appropriately trained. As asbestos is extremely hazardous, this include all forms of contact or disturbance, not just removal.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was popularly used in buildings before it was banned in 1999. When asbestos is disturbed or damaged, its fibres are released in the air – if inhaled, these fibres can cause serious diseases such as Mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, Asbestosis and pleural thickening.

Asbestos is responsible for killing around 5000 workers each year (more than the number of people killed on the road!), and approximately 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure.

The level of training required by workers is dependent of the expected level of contract with asbestos. For workers whose role brings them into potential contact with asbestos, asbestos awareness training provides information about how they can avoid disturbing asbestos during any normal work. This should cover:

  • the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the increased risk of developing lung cancer for asbestos workers who smoke
  • the types, uses and likely occurrence of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings and plant
  • the general procedures to deal with an emergency, eg an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace
  • how to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos

For workers whose roles involve work that will disturb asbestos, such as asbestos removal, a higher level of training on top of asbestos awareness is required.

Make sure you and your workers have the tools you need to stay safe when working near asbestos with our Asbestos Awareness Online Course. This course is suitable for any worker who may potentially come into contact with asbestos as part of their job. Get 10% off this course with the code ‘coshh10’!

Control of Hazardous Substances

Collage of four pictures of hazardous substancesControl of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is the law which requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. This may include:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapours
  • mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases and asphyxiating gases and
  • biological agents
  • germs that cause diseases, such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease, and germs used in laboratories

As an employer, you have a responsibility to identify potential hazards, implement and maintain adequate control measures, and providing adequate training for  your employees. One of the most important aspects within these responsibilities is to carry out a COSHH assessment. This involves:

  • identifying tasks that involve hazardous substances
  • understanding how these substances can cause harm
  • how you can reduce the risk of harm occurring
  • finding ways to prevent exposure at the source, such as avoiding using a hazardous substance or use a safer process, substituting it for something safer, or using a safer form.

Ensure that you are following COSHH regulations by learning how to control these substances with our Control of Hazardous Substances Online Training. This course is suitable for  both employers and employees who may come across hazardous substances in their line of work. Get 10% off this course with the code ‘coshh10’!

Asbestos Awareness and Control of Hazardous Substances are both essential courses for any workplace where these materials may be encountered. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these vital courses, available until the end of April. Simply enter the code ‘coshh10’ at checkout to save!