Editor, UBM

March 10, 2015

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HSE hits back over asbestos app criticism

The HSE has countered claims that their new online advice service could put people at risk of asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The Beware Asbestos app came under criticism from the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association, which said untrained people may be encouraged to try and remove asbestos themselves.

In response, the HSE has said that it is “surprised and disappointed that 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.”

The government body continued: “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. 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 these jobs for them.”

It added: “While commercially available 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 the simple measures they can follow to protect themselves.”

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