TRADES people in Yorkshire can now take advantage of hundreds of hours of free asbestos awareness training in a bid to tackle ignorance about Britain’s biggest industrial killer.
Almost 900 hours of face-to-face training during October and November have been pledged in the region with sessions promised in Brighouse, Wakefield, Drighlington, Ossett, Sheffield and Scunthorpe.
More than 800 men and women died in the region from asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma between 2001 and 2005.
It is hoped that training will help prevent the disease claiming another generation of workers in industries such as joinery, construction and plumbing.
The Health and Safety Executive, in partnership with industry, set a target of 4,000 hours of face-to-face training to be donated during September – one hour for each life lost to asbestos-related illnesses in an average year. A further target of 4,000 hours of online training was also set.
But an overwhelming response from training providers across Britain meant the combined target of 8,000 hours was smashed by more than 50%.
The free training is aimed at those most likely to disturb the asbestos fibres as they go about their work –around 20 of whom lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases every week.
The training providers include Coal Consultants Ltd in Brighouse and Fibre Environmental Services Ltd in Drighlington.
Paul Spurrier, HSE head of operations for Yorkshire, said: “This training will save lives by helping to tackle the dangerous ignorance that still prevails about the risks of working with asbestos.
“It will help prevent this hidden killer from claiming lives from another generation of trades people.
“The response from training providers has been overwhelming and completely exceeded our expectations. There’s been a real groundswell of support from a whole range of training providers.
“We expect demand for the courses to be high, so those interested need to go to www.hse.gov.uk and get signed up now. A few hours in a classroom or in front of a computer could add years to someone’s life.”