The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has launched a free, short, on-line course aimed at assisting tradespeople who may encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the course of their work. It can be accessed through the HSA e-learning portal https://hsalearning.ie. The 30-minute online course will help raise asbestos awareness amongst a range of workers including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, installers, maintenance workers, caretakers and construction workers.

If an employee unknowingly disturbs ACMs, asbestos fibres that can seriously harm health are released into the air. The course includes an interactive building highlighting potential areas where ACMs may be found, and their risks. A variety of examples are provided including images of what to look out for. Learners will also hear a personal account of the health effects of asbestos exposure.

Completion of the “Asbestos Safety for Tradespeople” course will help learners to improve their awareness of ACMs and how to protect themselves and others. However, it does not in any way enable individuals to work with ACMs.

At the end of this course learners should be able to:

  • understand what asbestos is,
  • outline the health effects of exposure to asbestos,
  • identify potential locations of asbestos containing materials (ACMs),
  • and outline the steps to take to protect yourself from exposure to asbestos.

Darren Arkins, Senior Inspector, with the HSA said, “The ‘Asbestos Safety for Tradespeople’ course will provide learners with important information on ACMs in the workplace. It will help employers and employees to be aware of potential locations of ACMs and how to manage a situation when these materials are found. Employers can also incorporate the course into staff induction or training programmes.”

He added, “This short online course will give those who may encounter asbestos in the course of their work a good introduction to it and plenty of guidance on where to seek further information.”

Joanne Harmon, Business and Education Support Manager, with the HSA said, “Learners can take courses during their own time, at their own pace and can download a certificate of completion on passing the short assessment. Although not a formal qualification, certification can form part of an individual’s training or continuous professional development record.”

Source: hsa.ie