Asbestos education apprenticeship scheme welcomed

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Asbestos education apprenticeship scheme welcomed

18th November 2010

An industrial disease specialist has welcomed news that a new asbestos education scheme is to be implemented across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 'Introduction to Asbestos' learning package is being rolled out in six training colleges across the counties, with the aim of educating building trade apprentices - who may come into contact with the material while carrying out their work - about the inherent risks asbestos exposure continues to pose.

"The terrible legacy of our widespread use of asbestos in decades past continues to claim thousands of lives each year," said Bridget Collier, Head of the Industrial Disease department at Fentons Solicitors LLP. "Any project that seeks to highlight the dangers and educate young people in the building trade should be embraced. Asbestos-related diseases remain the country's most prevalent workplace killer, and it is vital that apprentices entering the building trade are fully aware of any potential dangers."

The teaching materials include a video interview with a mesothelioma victim who died in March 2010. In the video, the 58-year-old former pipe-fitter - who was exposed to asbestos fibres while repairing heating systems decades earlier - urges young apprentices to never underestimate how dangerous asbestos can be.

"Mesothelioma is a horribly painful asbestos-related disease that inevitably has a devastating impact on victims' families," said Bridget. "Many young trades-people today are worryingly unaware of the continuing threat asbestos presents, believing the material no longer poses a threat as it is no longer used in building materials. Sadly, this is untrue."

Asbestos was widely used for fireproofing and insulation up until ten years ago and can still be found in many buildings built or refurbished before 2000. Deemed to be relatively safe if left undisturbed, asbestos only becomes dangerous when broken up and the deadly fibres are released into the air.

"Asbestos education should always be encouraged," said Bridget. "The fact that asbestos was still used in building materials only ten years ago means there is every chance that today's trades-people could come into contact with it in the course of their work. By educating the thousands of trainee joiners, electricians, plumbers and others in the industry learning their craft, about how lethal asbestos continues to be, the potential to save lives is huge."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - HSE