Nichol Associates

Nichol Associates

Head Office: 0191 438 5432 Training Centre: 0191 4385432

Training is the Key to Taming Asbestos

News that North East asbestos management firm Nichol Associates has increased its turnover by more than 50% comes in tandem with criticism of the latest scheme to compensate asbestos victims as being inadequate. The stories are linked because it is now being recognised that training is the key to protecting toady’s workforce and stopping them becoming tomorrow’s victims.

The health hazard posed by exposure to asbestos fibres has been recognised for some time, but the perception of asbestos being yesterday’s problem has led many workers to take risks with their own health. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken a carrot and stick approach to the problem, by educating the willing and prosecuting the guilty; while the growth reported by Nichol Associates over the last two years has reflected the demand for training, which is being seen by many industry watchers as a positive sign that the warnings on asbestos are finally getting through.

Nichol Associates Managing Director Dave Nichol

Nichol Associates Managing Director Dave Nichol

“Training has always been the key to taming asbestos, and our growth over the last two years is a sign the message is finally filtering through,” said founder and Managing Director of Nichol Associates Dave Nichol. “The tragedy is so many people are continuing to work with asbestos and risk contracting its related diseases. Compensation schemes can only go so far and with the sheer number of buildings contacting asbestos, the only way to beat this menace is training workers on its detection and safe containment or removal.”

Estimates put the figure of public buildings in the UK containing asbestos at over 1.5 million, many of which are schools. While taking all of these buildings out of commission is not realistic, those with the right training have the tools to tackle the problem safely. Asbestos is a health hazard when the fibres are breathed in, so left undisturbed, it is relatively harmless. Current guidance from the HSE states that where asbestos is not going to be disturbed, it can be left in place. Where the asbestos is in poor condition, or likely to be disturbed, it should be sealed, enclosed or removed.

The decision enshrined in The Mesothelioma Bill to compensate mesothelioma suffers alone and exclude other asbestos related illnesses has provoked controversy, as it effectively excludes 50% of the victims. While 300 victims will receive payouts of around £100,000, as the life expectancy of someone diagnosed is just 9-12 months, how many of these victims will ever see any money is open to question. Meanwhile, while many builders continue to remove the substance without the suitable protection or training, with a latency period of 10-40 years, there could be an asbestos time bomb ticking for the future.

“It is surely right we do all we can to support victims of asbestos now, but only greater awareness and training will ensure we never have to see workers in the future suffering from these terrible and entirely preventable diseases,” added Dave. “Our expansion from the North East to have offices throughout the country is a positive sign that the training message is being heeded, but too few have been trained in the safe handling and removal of asbestos and that must change.”

For those who find asbestos that must be removed, employing contractors who are fully trained in how to do so safely is a must. If in any doubt, people should consult qualified and approved experts. Nichol Associates has spent years training and advising organisations throughout the country on such matters.

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