Dealing with asbestos safely has always been a tricky issue for both employers and their workers who come in contact with the substance.
During the last decade, the European Union has forbidden the manufacturing, distribution and trading of asbestos and has been regulating activities related to the removal of this material. However, asbestos remains a deadly material, and in spite of an extensive ban and extensive efforts made to eliminate it, it is still present everywhere throughout Europe.
Joint Activities Created to Address Asbestos
Against this background, the European Social Partner organizations for the construction industry, EFBWW and FIEC, recently decided to use the opportunity of the Bilbao Agency’s campaign on safe maintenance to run joint activities on the specific issue of Maintenance/Asbestos and the instructions required for workers.
While in some Member States very high legislative and training requirements have been put in place, in other Member States much still remains to be done. Therefore, the main aim of the project was on the one hand to develop information modules for different professions and activities in question and, on the other hand, to facilitate the exchange of best practices across the EU. The project brought together social partner organizations, prevention institutions and training centers. All partners have an insight in the real situation at workplaces and expertise on the asbestos issue.
Employers Can Address Possible Risk Situations
They developed some easily understandable information modules. These modules will help the employers to inform and to instruct the workers at the workplace about possible risk situations and about the appropriate measures to be undertaken for safe working. We tried to avoid technocratic experts language. Without losing important information and without simplifying the harmful threat.
The risk situation is described by means of a “traffic lights model”. This model will help to make distinctions between three different risks situations, which have to be determined after a careful examination of each worksite before the beginning of the works.
Each of the 3 colors green (no or little risk), orange (higher risk) and red (high risk – operations done by professional asbestos companies) are associated to specific operations/materials and to the respective appropriate measures to be undertaken.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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