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The EFBWW asbestos campaign is set up broadly dealing with a number of different asbestos related issues and projects. With the following information we want to share some of the most recent activities and ways to get involved by e.g. participating in one of the upcoming conferences or supporting our efforts of trying to identify asbestos containing products avoiding EU market surveillance.

ABClean asbestos awareness e-learning course

At the EFBWW 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 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.

The ABClean e-learning course is available in Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish, Italian, Finnish and English.

For more information see the project website.
For information on how to sign up for the course please contact Stephen Schindler (sschindler@efbh.be)

Freeing Europe Safely from Asbestos
Joint EESC & CoR Conference on 24 June in Brussels - read the EESC Press release and the Conference report.

Two Birds with one stone – why improvements for energy efficiency in buildings goes hand in hand with asbestos removal
The EFBWW supports the demands made by the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee calling on combining efforts for improving energy efficiency in buildings with the removal of remaining asbestos. After all there is a significant overlap between the two policy areas as renovation to improve energy efficiency in buildings typically involves the parts of a building where asbestos has been used extensively in the past such as the roof or the windows, where asbestos can be found for example in insulations or putty. In some member states long term improvements such as solar panels on roofs may not be permitted if a building contains asbestos that will have to be removed in the medium term. Therefore posing an obstacle to improving energy efficiency in such instances if not tackled at the same time. In addition asbestos was utilized over proportionally in the building stock dating from the 1960s and 70s that is now due for renovation, while especially younger workers doing the work tend to be unfamiliar with products and materials containing asbestos.
Given the increasing frequency of work that may result in asbestos exposure that stems from the focused attention on energy efficiency in buildings as well as the accompanying factors of an aging buildings stock dating back to the heydays of asbestos use it is of paramount importance to make accompanying provisions for asbestos recognition, protection and removal when formulating targets for energy efficiency in buildings. This is particularly true for public buildings, where employees and the general public risk to be exposed to asbestos, in the UK for example mesothelioma rates are particularly high among teachers whose work places are contaminated with this deadly substance.
The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions hosted a joint conference on 24th June in Brussels, to discuss a safe removal strategy for Europe and call on the Commission to play their role in freeing Europe from asbestos. You can read the conference report by clicking on the following link: CLICK HERE

ABClean e-learning course
Training is another asbestos related aspect that deserves recognition, while workers in specialized asbestos removal companies are usually well trained and qualified to handle asbestos this is not always the case for workers who may encounter asbestos accidently during the course of activities such as renovation, maintenance and demolition. In addition training requirements vary across Member States according to their respective patterns of asbestos use in the past. For example many Central and Eastern European countries used asbestos primarily in asbestos cement roofs, in turn training for asbestos recognition was not always a priority. Given the highly mobile nature of the construction sector some workers may not be sufficiently trained to recognize the hazards they may encounter when working abroad. To address this issue the EFBWW has been partner in a Leonardo Da Vinci Project called ABClean to create an e-learning course for persons responsible for asbestos awareness in companies that might encounter asbestos unexpectedly in the course of their work. The project will conclude later this year and the final conference will take place on 10th September in Brussels, to register please contact Stephen Schindler (sschindler@efbh.be).

Asbestos Trade
Despite the ban on production and ongoing efforts towards removal for a total eradication of asbestos in Europe, suspicion is mounting that asbestos continues to be imported to the EU. Among other products, colleagues from Australia reported that asbestos containing construction materials are being imported from China evading market surveillance.
Something similar could happen in Europe, already in 2012 a large shipment of 1040t of asbestos arrived in Italy, where an investigation was launched. Currently it is difficult to assess if asbestos imports are taking place elsewhere in Europe and to what extent.
If you suspect that new asbestos containing products or construction materials are used in your country, please contact Stephen Schindler (sschindler@efbh.be) with information on the product, brand name, country of origin, or other indicators that can help market surveillance authorities to identify and prevent potential imports.

Open Experts Meeting on 22 June 2010
On the Open Experts Meeting on 22 June 2010, the EFBWW discussed with experts the perspectives of its "European asbestos campaign - Europe 2023 asbestos free!"

Dario Mordasini, National activities – the Swiss example
Lars Vedsmand, the EFBWW campaign, How to get high quality registers of asbestos in our buildings? How to train (young) workers to be aware of asbestos? What to do for victims?
Bernd Eisenbach, effects of the SLIC Campaign
Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors (SLIC), ASBESTOS IS DEADLY SERIOUS! PREVENT EXPOSURE!, Final Report
Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors (SLIC), ASBESTOS IS DEADLY SERIOUS! PREVENT EXPOSURE!, Final Report – Summary

Seminar on 8 October 2010
On its seminar on 8 October 2010, the EFBWW discussed important items of its campaign, such as working conditions, training needs for workers and asbestos related diseases.

Frans Leerkes/ Dutch Labour Inspectorate
The Dutch approach and the SLIC campaign

Christian Weber/The SUVA campaign
Dario Mordasini/ UNIA Switzerland
Practical support for affected workers

Lars Vedsmand/ Danish BAT Kartellet Tailor-made knowledge for any profession – the Danish experience

Seminar on 25 February 2011
on the seminar on 25 February 2011 the EFBWW discussed basic needs for training modules in the framework of "maintenance and asbestos".

Christian Weber, Training Modules for "Asbestos" Workers, SUVA Approach
Lars Vedsmand, Trained workers act more safely
Vermund Digernes - Rune W. Olsen / Norsk Industri - Fellesforbundet Norway, Training Modules provided by the Social Partner organisations – the Norwegian practise
Kaj Hansen / Technical School of Roskilde Denmark, What are the different kinds of workers/people who need to be trained and what kind of training do they need?
Bernd Eisenbach / Expert, What is the common ground for information and training of workers as it is set by EU-law on Asbestos and the Construction Site Directive?

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