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The Importance of Asbestos Awareness Discussed by Acorn Health & Safety


Danger Asbestos Written on Yellow Tape



Asbestos is a highly toxic insulation material, associated with a wide range of asbestos-related lung diseases and cancers. Although the risks and dangers of asbestos are now well documented, it took many years for the danger of this material to become apparent and bans on the material’s use implemented. Due to this, the material is unfortunately still present in a wide range of buildings that were constructed before 2000 in the UK.


Due to the material’s superb insulation qualities, asbestos is present in a huge range of buildings and incorrect information proposing that encasing asbestos in concrete would render the material ‘inert’ was incorrect, resulting in use all the way up until 2000. As a result, the dangers of asbestos are a risk to a wide range of workers and employees across a wide range of industries.


As the management of asbestos is vital due to the risks that are associated with the material, ensuring that awareness is carried out in your workplace is highly important.


As you may have questions about the risks of asbestos, the legislation surrounding asbestos or the use of these minerals throughout history, we have created an extensive article discussing the importance of asbestos awareness for your business or organisation. If you require more information on asbestos or are looking to arrange for asbestos awareness training then enquire with Acorn Health & Safety using an online contact form on our website or telephone now on: 0117 958 2070


Who Needs to be Aware of the Risks of Asbestos?


Although asbestos was used prominently as an insulation material, it may be rare in some cases that you actually come across and disturb the material. That being said, if you are likely to encounter asbestos during everyday work then it’s of the utmost importance that you are aware of the risks of asbestos. In buildings built before 1980 for example, the following contain asbestos:


  • Roof Shingles
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Old Floor Tiles
  • Siding
  • Roof Flashing
  • Roof Shingles
  • Insulation Around Boilers, Piping etc.
  • Joint Compounds
  • Attic Insulation


This makes members of the construction & home improvement sector for example, potentially extremely vulnerable to the risks of asbestos as the disturbance or breakage of asbestos is what causes fibres to be released into the air. Inhalation of these fibres is what leaves individuals at risk of developing various lung diseases or lung cancer. We have compiled a list of sectors particularly at risk or who are likely to encounter asbestos below:


  • Workers in the Demolition & Construction Sector
  • Painters, Decorators & Plasterers
  • Roofing Contractors
  • Joiners & Carpenters
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Electricians & Cable Layers
  • Computing Engineers
  • Teachers (Especially in Schools Pre-1980)
  • Plumbers
  • Firefighters & Emergency Responders (Although Respirators Aid Against the Risks)
  • Anyone Sector Working With Insulation


What are the Risks of Asbestos?


Although we are all likely to encounter some natural asbestos exposure during our lifetime, this is very unlikely to develop into an asbestos-related disease. It is the continued exposure to asbestos over extended periods of time that can cause malignant lung diseases. The various diseases that are associated with extended exposure to asbestos are the following:


  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural Plaque
  • Pleural Thickening
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Lung Cancer


As discussed, the breakage of asbestos can cause the release of asbestos fibres into the air. This could occur from carrying out construction work or being present near an area in which asbestos has been disturbed. The inhalation of asbestos fibres causes these fibres to become lodged in the lungs. These fine fibres can be inhaled or ingested and they cause inflammation as the body tries to break down these near indestructible fibres. The mesothelial cells can develop into tumours and this can cause Mesothelioma and lung cancer. Lodging in the lungs can also cause a number of issues in the pleural space of the lungs. It is therefore highly important that if you are likely to be exposed to or working around asbestos that you fully understand the risks.


Asbestos Awareness in the Workplace


As asbestos is highly dangerous, awareness of asbestos, as well as the risks posed by asbestos exposure, is vital if you are likely to be exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Participation in asbestos awareness training helps organisations to demonstrate compliance with their statutory duties as well as providing evidence towards their SSIP accreditations. HSE currently recommends that asbestos awareness training is also repeated on an annual basis.


Asbestos & The Law


The duty to manage asbestos is highly important in the workplace (for people with the responsibility for protecting others who work in premises that contain asbestos.) In regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations, 2012 dictates the duty to manage asbestos. This includes taking reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises as well as noting where asbestos is located and what condition the asbestos is in. The duty-holder must presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence to suggest otherwise and keep up-to-date records of the condition and location of asbestos-containing materials or materials presumed to contain asbestos. These are some of the example requirements for the duty to manage asbestos which can be found on the HSE website’s – Duty to Manage Asbestos page.


The management and identification of asbestos is of the utmost importance, especially in industries where asbestos exposure poses a great threat to workers and employees. Asbestos awareness training helps in understanding the risks and dangers of asbestos as well as requirements and responsibilities in managing the risks that asbestos can pose to businesses, individuals and organisations.


Asbestos Awareness Training With Acorn Health & Safety


Asbestos Fibres on Grey backround


Our trainers employ a variety of teaching techniques to meet the needs of the individual delegates that are attending our courses. Our asbestos awareness training course programme is accredited by iatp and follows a set syllabus containing the most up to date information available. The course will cover various aspects of asbestos and the awareness of the risks associated with exposure to asbestos. The course programme also covers how to manage the risk associated with asbestos as well as how to identify asbestos minerals and materials. Key legislation of duty to manage contractors and client responsibility, as well as an overview of asbestos surveys and registers, are also covered. The other aspects that are covered are PPE and hygiene as well as the procedure to follow when asbestos is discovered.


We offer a wide array of courses, with our asbestos awareness course being one of over 60 courses that we offer. We can offer a wide variety of tailor-made or accredited courses that can be open courses or in-house courses. We teach 18,000 delegates a year and we are able to offer training to groups, individuals and entire staff teams.


Should you feel that you need to be more equipped with the risks that can be posed by asbestos or are looking to arrange for asbestos awareness training then get in contact with Acorn Health & Safety today. We can offer either a tailored or in-house course to meet the needs and requirements of your business or organisation. Enquire online using an online contact form on our website or telephone a member of our team now on: 0117 958 2070