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Asbestos training to prevent the killer dust.

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12:01am 12th September 2011

Poignant training pledge launched to tackle Yorkshire & Humber's share of 4,000 asbestos death toll
 
A target of 4000 hours of free asbestos awareness training has been set in a new initiative to help tradesmen in Yorkshire and the Humber and across Britain protect themselves from the deadly dust.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in partnership with the training industry, is calling for businesses to pledge free courses and hopes, during September to hit the target of 4,000 hours - reflecting the approximate number of deaths each year in Britain from asbestos-related diseases.

It is hoped that 4000 face-to-face training hours and an additional 4,000 hours of online training will be offered up by various providers.

The free training will be available throughout October and November and is aimed at tradesmen such as joiners, electricians and plumbers who are most likely to disturb the fibres as they go about their work - around 20 a week lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases.

In Yorkshire and the Humber the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma caused 3073 deaths between 1982 and 2008.

Although there is little that can be done to help those who are already suffering the often fatal effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace, the aim is to prevent this hidden killer claiming another generation.

Paul Spurrier, Head of Operations for the HSE in Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

"Our Hidden Killer campaign has helped tradesmen understand the lifesaving fact that asbestos exposure is not just an historical problem - around half a million public buildings still contain it. This next phase of the campaign is all about tradesmen finding out exactly what they need to do to protect themselves by taking advantage of free training. Through the continued commitment of asbestos support groups and by industry playing its part, we can all do something practical to ensure that the risk to workers is minimised."

Paula Walker, from the South Yorkshire Asbestos Victim Support Group, said:

"We deal first hand with consequences of exposure to asbestos. About 200 new sufferers look to us for help each year in South Yorkshire and North Notts, including many trades people. It is incredibly important that local businesses support this crucial initiative - prevention is the key and that means much greater awareness of the dangers."

Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP) and the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) are working with HSE to encourage their members to pledge. Members of the Asbestos Safety Health Environmental e-Learning Association (ASHEeLA) are being encouraged to provide free online training courses.

Training Providers looking to pledge hours are invited to visit the campaign website www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/training-pledge.htm and those wanting to sign up to free training can see what is being pledged in their area by following links on the site.

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