Asbestos training plummets during Covid-19 lockdown
Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns have resulted in asbestos training plummeting. Tilly Bailey & Irvine's Personal Injury Solicitors highlight how this ups the risk of people suffering asbestos-related injuries.
The Covid Pandemic lockdown has had an impact on many areas of our lives. The pandemic has seen large sections of the work force placed on furlough and it is likely that redundancies will follow.
In September 2020 the UK Asbestos Training Association raised significant concerns about the number of employers who had embarked on asbestos risk training. The UK Asbestos Training Association is a non-profit training organisation that has delivered asbestos related training since 2008.
The concerns they raised came after figures for the number of people undertaking its “Duty to Manage” programme (aimed at ensuring that premises with asbestos are properly managed and risk assessed and that asbestos is regularly inspected for deterioration) was at the lowest level for five years following the start of the lockdown in March 2020. The UK Asbestos Training Association estimates that the general uptake for training would on average be 18,000 workers per month whereas their records reveal that between March and September 2020 the average dropped to 6,000 workers per month across a variety of industries notwithstanding the training being moved to on-line platforms so it could be delivered remotely.
These concerns are well founded. It is a regulatory requirement that asbestos training is conducted for both non-licensed and licensed work that concerns asbestos on an annual basis. Slippage in the training may lead to vital inspections in premises and on sites not taking place or the adequate checks and procedures with a possible unnecessary asbestos exposure by consequence. Given the length of time for the incubation period for asbestos related diseases this may not be something that manifests itself for many years.
However, an increase in exposure may well follow following the re-opening of premises post lockdown.
It is imperative that the training that is available be undertaken to ensure that the risk of asbestos damage can be minimised.