British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has revised and re-launched its asbestos refresher courses series.
The new RP402 (asbestos surveying refresher course) was made available on 31 October, with RP404 (asbestos site clearance analysis) and RP405 (asbestos management) following close behind in November 2018.
The refresher courses, which were initially launched in October 2016, have been revised in response to feedback from training providers and candidates. The examination element has been removed from these courses as there was concern among candidates about failing the exam and what this would mean for their employability. Instead, tutors will conduct an informal assessment to test the candidate’s learning and to establish any additional teaching required.
Additionally, the format of the syllabus has now been changed to include a list of compulsory and optional topics that the tutor can choose to teach on to suit the needs of their individual candidates. Compulsory topics will include items such as legislative changes in the last 12 months and material/priority assessments.
BOHS refresher courses are one-day training sessions that are delivered by BOHS’ Approved Training Providers. The courses are supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), and comply with the requirements outlined in the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 for asbestos practitioners to undertake annual refresher training for licensed and non-licensed work.
The HSE has recently announced that it will target construction firms across Great Britain to review measures taken by businesses to protect their workers’ health. Its campaigns such as Go Home Healthy and Dustbuster raise awareness of the importance of looking after personnel. One way to ensure workers are protected is to ensure they have refreshed their training. It is recommended by the HSE that licensed and non-licensed asbestos workers refresh their training regularly, in case of changes to legislation and procedures. Workplaces could be investigated by the HSE if there is a lack of evidence to show that staff have completed refresher training.
Without being aware of the latest legislation and procedures, workers could be exposing themselves to respiratory cancers including lung cancer and mesothelioma. These are long-latency diseases where symptoms manifest many years after initial exposure to substances. According to the HSE, asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers each year and around 20 tradesmen die each week as a result of past exposure.
Speaking about the launch of the revised refresher training courses, Jonathan Grant, Director of Gully Howard and a member of the BOHS Faculty of Asbestos and Assessment Management (FAAM) Board commented, “As a training provider, I’m really looking forward to delivering courses that can be tailored to fit the needs of the audience. For some people, it may have been years since they completed their P-module training - the refresher courses are a fantastic way to make sure that you are up to date with all recent developments and current legislation. If you are a FAAM member and unsure about continuing professional development (CPD), the refresher courses are a great way to earn CPD points and ensure that you are up to date with developments in the profession”.
John Evans and Ellie Clarke, Consultancy Director and Asbestos Training Consultant respectively at Santia Asbestos Management, remarked, “The BOHS refresher courses are vitally important for those who are directly employed in the asbestos industry and those who have specific management responsibilities within their organisations so that they can keep abreast of current knowledge and the changes that are already on the horizon. The ultimate objective is to reverse the continued upward trend in asbestos-related diseases and mortalities in the UK”.
BOHS Chief Examiner, Colette Willoughby, states, “Refresher training provides the ideal opportunity to brush up on those areas which candidates encounter infrequently and as a result, can become 'rusty'. The environment will also be invaluable in allowing the sharing of experiences to further enhance the knowledge and learning of each candidate”. Echoing Colette, John Lyons, BOHS Technical Advisor states, “The new-style asbestos refreshers will provide a much-needed update and technical support to many working in the asbestos industry. This bespoke approach with no formal examination should make these courses a very popular way to update knowledge of all those working within the asbestos industry”.