Although EU Directive (2009/148/EC) outlines requirements for the protection of workers when working with asbestos which were subsequently implemented at national level, we see some short comings in practice. In many Member States asbestos related training requirements are often limited to workers in companies specialized in asbestos removal. This leaves out many workers who are at risk of exposure to asbestos, who receive no training on asbestos awareness at all.
For this reason we distinguish between two types of workers when it comes to asbestos. The first group consists of workers in companies that are specialized in asbestos removal, who receive the appropriate training to perform this task and the second group consists of workers in other professions who are not specialized in asbestos removal, but who may encounter asbestos containing products in the course of e.g. maintenance, demolition or renovation. While some Member States have legislation in place to train this second group of workers on asbestos awareness, other Member States do not.
In order to help address this discrepancy the EFBWW was partner in a Lifelong Learning Project “Making the EU AsBestos Clean (ABClean) to create a e-learning course offer together with training providers and institutes for occupational medicine. Partners of the project were NOVOTEC (Spain), Equipo Humano (Spain), Vilnius Jerusaleum Labor Market Training Center (Lithuania), European Asbestos Risks Association Onlus (Italy), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Finland), The Environmental Academy (UK), and Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (Poland).
The result of this project is a e-learning course offer for asbestos awareness in construction companies that are not specialized in asbestos removal. The course content corresponds to a level 4 European Qualifications Framework (EQF). However, it should be noted that this course does not enable workers to perform asbestos related work, instead the main focus is on awareness and recognition in order to allow workers to identify potential sources of exposure and to take the appropriate preventive measures. This can mean halting the work if needed or letting specialists test for and remove asbestos if needed.
The ABClean e-learning course is available in Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish and English.