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SOCOTEC provides consultancy, inspection and analytical services at UK’s largest army storage and maintenance depot

SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team recently supportedinfrastructure service support provider, Amey, with the asbestos decontamination of vehicles and assets at MOD Ashchurch, a primary vehicle storage and distribution site for armoured vehicles and the main Stored Equipment Fleet (SEF) storage and maintenance depot for the army in the UK. MOD Ashchurch was

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BOHS announces Asbestos 2020- preliminary programme released

The British Occupational Hygiene Society, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, and the Faculty of Asbestos Assessment and Management (FAAM) invites all asbestos professionals to Asbestos 2020 Virtual Conference taking place on 18 and 19 November. The event will bring together researchers, academics, practitioners and regulators, through various plenary

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iHASCO release new version of popular Asbestos Awareness Training

iHASCO, a market-leading provider of Health & Safety and Compliance eLearning, have released an updated version of their popular Asbestos Awareness training course. Having already trained over 150,000 people across the UK and Europe in Asbestos Awareness, iHASCO have made appropriate visual and script changes to bring the programme in

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IDOM Makes Strategic Appointment in the UK

IDOM (through its local branch IDOM Merebrook Ltd) is investing further in the field of asbestos management in the United Kingdom with the appointment of industry specialist Steve Hurst to spearhead the consultancy’s further business development in this area. The IDOM asbestos team has extensive experience of contaminated ground investigation,

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

asbestos

SOCOTEC provides consultancy, inspection and analytical services at UK’s largest army storage and maintenance depot

SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team recently supportedinfrastructure service support provider, Amey, with the asbestos decontamination of vehicles and assets at MOD Ashchurch, a primary vehicle storage and distribution site for armoured vehicles and the main Stored Equipment Fleet (SEF) storage and maintenance depot for the army in the UK. MOD Ashchurch was shut down by the HSE due to asbestos-related concerns, with a programme (known as Operation Windfirm) specifically developed to allow re-entry to the site through the decontamination of buildings, vehicles and assets and the safe return of occupants. As part of the programme, asbestos control measures under CAR 2012 needed to be agreed with the HSE and implemented throughout the site. Alongside another third party, SOCOTEC supported Amey with the decontamination work and conducted the subsequent inspection and issuing of certification in line with government guidelines. Deterioration of asbestos Ashchurch comprises a 178-acre site with numerous large asbestos cement clad and roofed sheds. Over the years, these asbestos storage sheds have decayed, leading to the contamination of vehicles and the assets stored within them. The asbestos cement rooves have also deteriorated due to a combination of weather conditions and a lack of repair. This has resulted in pieces of asbestos cement being visibly strewn across floor areas. As is common with asbestos cement rooves, an abundant coverage of moss and lichens exist. When these grow on cement sheeting, their roots will penetrate beneath the upper layers of the cement and remove moisture. This plant growth will eventually cause damage, erosion and weakness to the roof surface which, in conjunction with the weather conditions, will eventually result in moss/lichens being displaced onto adjacent surfaces such as roads, walkways and grassed areas. The plant growth activity causes the cement matrix (essential for binding and holding the asbestos fibres in place) to break down and no longer be present, with the fibres loosely adhered to the roots of the moss/lichens. When these roots fall off the rooves, they leave behind an unsealed surface with loose asbestos fibres that can easily be displaced and moved across the site. Moreover, severe weather conditions meant that contamination was being walked across the site or tracked on vehicles due to the large gull colony of birds using the material for nesting. Identifying locations SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team carried out a targeted survey over a three-month period to determine the extent of the contamination at MOD Ashchurch. Over 6,000 samples were taken, 75% of which returned positive results for asbestos. Key areas where asbestos was found included: Loose debris to rooves/guttering/downpipes A contaminated drainage system Debris to grassed areas (in some cases, legacy contamination from when rooves had been replaced historically) Extensive debris and contamination to vehicles, bridging and associated equipment Contamination within the ground. Control measures Working collaboratively alongside third parties, SOCOTEC contributed to a programme involving site asbestos maintenance and designated decontamination hubs. Controls to ensure the safe, continued operation of the site included: HEPA adapted road sweepers to carry out scheduled housekeeping, protecting assets and personnel in the occupied buildings. Sweeper waste sampling results were reported back to the army, Amey and other site stakeholders on a weekly basis to act as early warnings for spikes, general high readings and seasonal/annual variations. All personnel were given asbestos awareness training, which was maintained annually Fencing to the entire perimeter of the site was covered with fine netting, preventing the spread of any asbestos from site A controlled wheel wash was installed at the exit to the site during the early phase of the work until contamination issues were brought under control Routine housekeeping within occupied buildings was carried out using type H vacuum cleaners to capture any cross contamination from external areas Control of site maintenance activities, such as grass cutting and disposal of waste Alongside site maintenance, high and low volume air monitoring took place on the site perimeter, in occupied buildings, around the site, on personnel and when project activities were undertaken To determine if airborne asbestos was present, conventional analytical methods were complemented by the use of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with fibre identification by Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS) Enhanced safe systems of work and associated training for all staff and visitors to site. Two hubs were specifically set up in order to decontaminate vehicles, bridging and equipment. All vehicles and assets underwent a proof of concept to determine the safest decontamination method, ascertain the appropriately sized team for the asset and the average time taken. This process formed part of the risk assessment and method statements, which were signed by all stakeholders and used for personnel to sign onto, demonstrating a full understanding of the agreed processes. Air monitoring and inspection Of the 50,000 air tests carried out, 45,000 were static samples and 5,000 were personal air tests. All but a handful were less than the clearance limit, demonstrating tight controls and compliance with working practices throughout the duration of the project. SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team supported the Operation Windfirm programme, with all decontaminated items inspected and a certification of cleanliness produced. This included issue, TacCIS, EBS and ES Mat items, vehicles, bridging assets, as well as workshop equipment and tools. After decontamination, the vehicles and assets either went for external storage, return to unit, disposal, destruction, or remained on site. Innovation and collaboration Due to the critical nature and size of the project at Ashchurch, bespoke innovations were required to control the spread of asbestos and keep all personnel and the community safe. The two road sweepers were customised with HEPA filters to prevent the spread of airborne asbestos fibres, as a traditional filter would not have controlled the fibres. Specialist modified air monitoring pumps were commissioned, and long-life batteries were fitted to allow over eight hours of continuous monitoring at 16 litres/minute. This allowed levels of down to 0.0002 fibres/ml to be detected, well below regular monitoring levels and aligned with HSE research. Close collaboration and effective communication between stakeholders was of paramount importance, with weekly meetings and open discussions

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BOHS announces Asbestos 2020- preliminary programme released

The British Occupational Hygiene Society, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, and the Faculty of Asbestos Assessment and Management (FAAM) invites all asbestos professionals to Asbestos 2020 Virtual Conference taking place on 18 and 19 November. The event will bring together researchers, academics, practitioners and regulators, through various plenary talks and technical sessions with a programme that will include UK and international speakers, dealing with scientific topics covering key areas regarding the assessment, control and management of asbestos. This year’s exciting programme includes: -Sessions on Control limit for work with Asbestos and Fibres v mineral fragments -A session on Current Research including site observations and measurement of the efficacy of current 4 stage clearances, EM v PCM counting of fibres in air and analysis of marble for its asbestos content -A Focus on survey session – from the client, consultant and regulator’s perspective -A Focus on technology session, including a review of current best practice for adopting remote auditing procedures -A Mock Trial– a day in court experience not to be missed –Myth busting, solving myths around Asbestos. If you want to see your myth busted, you can send it to conferences@bohs.org You don’t need to be a FAAM or BOHS member to attend Asbestos 2020 but members are eligible for a discounted rate. You can see the full programme and book your place here.

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iHASCO release new version of popular Asbestos Awareness Training

iHASCO, a market-leading provider of Health & Safety and Compliance eLearning, have released an updated version of their popular Asbestos Awareness training course. Having already trained over 150,000 people across the UK and Europe in Asbestos Awareness, iHASCO have made appropriate visual and script changes to bring the programme in line with the look and feel of their newer courses. With the HSE putting the number of asbestos-related deaths at around 5,000 deaths per year, the threat of asbestos exposure is very real. Asbestos fibres can cause serious illnesses and fatalities anywhere between 10 and 50 years after they’ve made it into the lungs. iHASCO’s Asbestos Awareness Training course is IOSH Approved and has been audited by the Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP). The online awareness training can be completed in just 35 minutes and allows employers in the UK to work towards compliance with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The course, which is aimed at anyone who could potentially come into contact with asbestos whilst at work, has been designed to educate the user on where asbestos might be found, what to do if it is disturbed, and the the risks associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Real life demos, examples, and step by steps feature throughout the programme to equip learners with the awareness and knowledge they need to keep themselves and others safe. “After months of hard work, my team have created a fantastic product and I’m confident that our clients will enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed making it.” says Lottie Galvin, iHASCO’s Studio Manager. “You’ll notice that we’ve embodied different styles of animation, we’ve included a fascinating timeline on the history of asbestos, and – of course – we’ve ensured that this training helps you keep your staff safe whilst keeping you compliant with current legislation.” Anyone interested in this training is invited to watch a short snippet taken from the updated course on The History of Asbestos. There is also an International version of Asbestos Awareness training for those outside of the UK. 

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UKATA urges construction industry employers to ensure apprentices are asbestos aware

In an effort to halt the growing numbers of tradespeople contracting fatal asbestos related diseases, one of the UK’s leading authorities on asbestos training is urging employers to deliver asbestos awareness training to all apprentices. Research has shown that younger people, if routinely exposed to asbestos fibres over time, are at greater risk of developing deadly asbestos related diseases than older workers. Providing apprentices with key information about asbestos at an early stage will enable them to challenge poor work practices and protect themselves. Craig Evans, Chief Operating Officer of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA), urged: “With the death toll from occupational exposure reaching crisis levels in the UK, UKATA is calling on all employers of apprentices working in trades, to receive asbestos awareness training as soon as possible, whether that’s through a college or with their employer.” Apprentice electricians, plumbers, carpenters. joiners, heating and ventilation engineers, painters and decorators are just some of the 1.3 million tradespeople that are at risk from exposure to the killer building material. And the facts are startling: Asbestos kills around 20 tradespeople in the UK every week, making it the single biggest cause of work-related deaths (www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/tradesperson.htm) Electricians are almost 16 times more likely than the general population to develop the killer lung disease mesothelioma in their lifetime. (Occupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risks in the British population: a case-control study.) Asbestos exposure kills 4 plumbers every week (Health & Safety Executive) 598 carpenters and joiners died between 1991-2000 as a result of an asbestos disease 1 in 17 British carpenters born in the 1940s will die of mesothelioma (Cancer Research UK and Health & Safety Executive) The UK has the highest death rate from mesothelioma in the world. The risk is highest in people who were exposed to asbestos before age 30. (Institute of Cancer Research) Despite the well-publicised health risks posed by asbestos, a 2017 survey conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of 500 tradespeople showed that less than a third were aware of the correct ways to deal with and handle asbestos in the workplace. Craig explained: “It’s never too early to deliver asbestos awareness training to your workforce. The statistics show that the earlier in a person’s career they receive the appropriate training, then the better protected they are against developing asbestos related cancers in later life. “A simple half day awareness course could prevent them from contracting a deadly disease and also ensure they don’t expose others to the dangers of asbestos.” To ensure young people have access to asbestos awareness training before entering the workplace, UKATA is supporting the Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER) project. The LOcHER project idea originated within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and aims to support colleges to help students develop valuable employment and life skills, so they feel equipped to lead change in their careers and the industries into which they progress. For employers whose apprentices are yet to receive asbestos awareness training, UKATA advises that they access UKATA approved asbestos awareness training, either with a local provider or online. “Asbestos awareness training is low cost and readily available. I urge all employers to book their apprentices on these half-day courses and provide them with a safe foundation for a long and safe career within the construction industry,” added Craig. UKATA approved asbestos awareness courses are available both online and in training centres throughout the UK. Alternatively, the training provider may deliver on site.  To find a UKATA approved asbestos training provider near you, visit www.ukata.org.uk or for free advice call our team on 01246 824437.

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IDOM Makes Strategic Appointment in the UK

IDOM (through its local branch IDOM Merebrook Ltd) is investing further in the field of asbestos management in the United Kingdom with the appointment of industry specialist Steve Hurst to spearhead the consultancy’s further business development in this area. The IDOM asbestos team has extensive experience of contaminated ground investigation, management and detailed knowledge of handling asbestos in buildings. The team offers a wide range of services including risk assessments, surveys, clearance, remediation and training. “This is a strategic appointment for us. Steve is a leading authority in the field of asbestos. We have been working within this sector for many years and believe it has real potential for further growth and is therefore an area we are keen to develop,” said IDOM’s Chief Operation Officer, Nigel Huish. “Managing asbestos projects is an incredibly complex process. We offer our clients a pragmatic approach to ensuring compliance, so Steve’s skillset in providing clients with workable, economically efficient solutions will be a valuable asset to the business,” he added. Steve brings a wealth of specialist expertise to the role, with over 30 years’ experience in environmental sector, having held senior positions in both business development and strategic operational leadership. He specialises in contract and client management, project management, training and quality delivery, strategic innovation, liability assessment, due diligence and decommissioning advice. “I have always held IDOM in very high esteem and watched them develop and grow as a global engineering powerhouse, whilst successfully retaining their high standards and exceptional levels of customer care. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity of becoming part of their success story and expanding their asbestos management capabilities  – it is an exciting time to join the business and I very much look forward to the challenges this role brings,” commented Steve on his appointment.

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Contamination Expo Event Director’s Thoughts on Upcoming Event

Health and safety issues are all too often ignored in the workplace and yet it is essential for the goodwill to all (both client and worker) that these are upheld. Every year, the Contamination Expo Series does what it can in order to try and raise people’s awareness of the very problems that they may not realize exist but that most certainly do in the workplace of the building and construction industry. Through this initiative, leading members as well as clients are able to attend the event and see for themselves the various (often simple) methods that can be implemented in order to ensure the health and safety for individuals while they are carrying out a task. Issues such as the management of waste that is harmful to the environment and to the individual disposing of the waste product are addressed, and the event itself is seen by many as a good chance for networking their services to other members in the industry who want to know what exactly they have to offer to them. The event itself, set to take place in late September from the 27th  to the next day, will be held in London and anyone interested in attending the various classes and seminars is actively encouraged to have a look on the Contamination Expo Series website and see for themselves what the event will feature. Of course, this event is an ever-expanding one, with more and more companies dealing with health and safety opting to attend over the years. Indeed, Daniel Rogers the Event Director of the planned enterprise is pleased to welcome the newest members to the event, who specialize in the handling and disposal of that chemical from hell known as asbestos. With their recent inclusion in the event, it is hoped that they will be able to encourage a wider range of people in the building and construction industry to attend and it is hoped that by September the event will be as fully booked and as successful as can possibly be.

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