Asbestos: Be aware, not an expert

There has, for some time, been a growing recognition that training does not have to mean making every delegate an expert, but teaching them what they need to know in their line of work.

A well-established example is the Part P Defined Scope (PPDS) course, which gives the trainee enough knowledge to carry out certain electrical works safely. It means that a plumber can be certified to replace an electric shower without having to be a fully qualified electrician.

Some time ago, a conversation took place between Jonathan Grant (Gully Howard Technical MD) and Gary Walpole (NFRC) about what this kind of defined scope training might look like for asbestos. This turned into an initiative which has started to bear fruit, as became evident at Contractors Day where GHT’s Kirsty Phillips co-hosted an asbestos presentation with Louise Hoskings (IOSH VP). Kirsty worked closely with Gary to develop a Roofing specific course which is now available HERE.

The need for more defined scope training was apparent while speaking to a room full of roofing industry professionals. It emerged that only a very small number of them were confidently able to identify where asbestos-containing materials might be found on an image of a school building. This was a clear indication that there is still a significant knowledge gap that needs to be bridged in order to enable construction workers to do their jobs safely.

Contractors day was the perfect platform to share the work GHT have been doing in collaboration with the NFRC to consider some of the most common challenges faced when considering training. Some of the particular challenges we have been able to overcome include:

  • Providing defined scope asbestos awareness training which is relevant to the delegate
  • Limited time available for training
  • Budget
  • Being able to carry out training anywhere (ie, online)

Following the success of our IATP accredited Roofing Specific Training (“Designed by roofers, for roofers”) created in collaboration with the NFRC we are continuing to develop tailored asbestos awareness courses for specific aspects of the construction industry. This includes making these courses accessible by a diverse workforce by having them translated into other languages including Polish and Lithuanian.

We believe that making this sort of training more readily available across the industry is one of the most effective ways to enable construction workers to work confidently and safely.

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