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Welcome to Asbestos Matters 2014!

Established in 2006, Asbestos Matters is the most informative and independent news page for the asbestos
training related sector.

Updated online Asbestos Essentials for Non-Licensed work with asbestos

18/09/2017
Asbestos Essentials online task sheets provide information for those in the building maintenance and allied trades on safe work with asbestos. The suite of free-to-download HSE Asbestos Essentials task sheets has been reviewed and updated. There is more emphasis on the importance of appropriate information, instruction and training. The sheets now indicate whether specific tasks […]
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HSL: Asbestos ? Managing asbestos in domestic* and non-domestic premises ? Buxton, 5 Sept 2017

15/08/2017
This one-day course gives you the knowledge to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises to the standards required by Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012). The course information is also applicable to the management of ‘domestic premises’, such as landlords’ duties for rented accommodation.
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HSL: Asbestos ? Managing asbestos in domestic* and non-domestic premises ? Buxton, 18 July 2017

16/06/2017
This one-day course gives you the knowledge to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises to the standards required by Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012). The course information is also applicable to the management of ‘domestic premises’, such as landlords’ duties for rented accommodation.
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HSL: Asbestos ? Managing asbestos in domestic* and non-domestic premises ? Buxton, 16 May 2017

20/04/2017
This one-day course gives you the knowledge to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises to the standards required by Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012). The course information is also applicable to the management of ‘domestic premises’, such as landlords’ duties for rented accommodation.
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Fine for two companies following asbestos investigation in Surrey

31/03/2017
Two companies have been fined after unsafe asbestos work was carried out on a property in Leatherhead, Surrey.
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Contractor fined for poor asbestos assessment

01/03/2017
A Bedfordshire based contractor has been fined after failing to carry out suitable assessment of asbestos removal work.
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HSL: Asbestos ? Managing asbestos in domestic* and non-domestic premises ? Buxton, 14 Mar 2017

14/02/2017
This one-day course gives you the knowledge to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises to the standards required by Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012). The course information is also applicable to the management of ‘domestic premises’, such as landlords’ duties for rented accommodation.
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Bury demolition contractor fined for failing to prevent exposure to Asbestos

30/01/2017
A demolition contractor has been sentenced after admitting illegally removing asbestos from a building he was working on.
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Asbestos Analyst fined for falsifying documents

19/01/2017
An asbestos analyst has been fined after he falsified an asbestos air clearance certificate, following licensed asbestos removal in Manchester.
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Asbestos removal firm fined after poor safety practices

17/01/2017
Midlands based firm Enviro-Safe Limited have been fined for failing to meet the standards required when removing asbestos.
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This content is supplied by HSE. To see more posts click here.


Simons message to fellow workers!

14th October 2014
It’s not a secret that some of the highest rates of Mesothelioma and other asbestos related deaths are centred in and around the North East of England. Being a former ‘heavy industry and construction worker’ myself and with hands on experience of this deadly substance, I read with interest a story of a local man from our region who is urging trades men and women to be aware of the ‘hidden killer whilst carrying out work on buildings.

I also read this month the findings of a fascinating research report carried out by the Health & Safety Executive which has highlighted many concerns about workers true perception of the risk from asbestos in buildings.

Having over 20 years experience in the training industry and travelling the length and breadth of the UK training the construction, refurbishment and engineering industries certainly back that study up. The ‘it wont happen to me’ perception is a hard one to break, however when you see and read stories like that of Simon Clark it certainly strikes home a sobering message that even today.......despite the perceptions shown by many, asbestos is still the biggest occupational killer this country has ever experienced or probably will ever experience!

Here’s the article published recently within the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Read on it certainly made me think.

A former electrician suffering from an industrial diseased has urged people to be cautious of asbestos as figures reveal Tyneside tradesmen could come into contact with the substance more than 100 times a year.

Simon Clark was diagnosed with mesothelioma - a life-threatening, aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos - in 2012, aged just 52.

The Health and Safety Executive has said tradesmen in Newcastle could come into contact with asbestos an average of 115 times a year following a new survey.

On hearing the figures Simon made a plea to fellow tradesmen.
He said:

“When I was younger I didn’t think of the dangers of asbestos and I must have been exposed to it frequently. Since being diagnosed, I’ve had to give up my work and let some of my employees go - which is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is vitally important that everybody knows when they might be exposed and takes the correct steps to protect themselves.”

As well as illustrating how often trades people in Newcastle can be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed some common myths believed by those at risk, with four per cent believing that drinking a glass of water will help protect them from the deadly dust and 33 per cent thinking that opening a window will help to keep them safe.

Asbestos can be found in walls and ceilings, or the structure of a building, as well as a host of other places like floor tiles, boilers, toilet cisterns, guttering and soffits.
It can be disturbed by basic maintenance work like drilling holes and sanding and once disturbed, the microscopic fibres can prove lethal if breathed in, causing lung disease and cancer.

The research, undertaken by Censuswide in September 2014, shows that while more than half (53 per cent) of trades people in Britain knew that asbestos could be in old buildings built before 1970, only 15 per cent knew that it could still be found in buildings built up to the year 2000.
To encourage trades people to think about asbestos on every job the HSE has launched a new safety campaign.

Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, said: “Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that the people who come into contact with it regularly often don’t know where it could be and worryingly don’t know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm’s way.

“Our new campaign aims to help trades people understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe. Our new web app is designed for use on a job so workers can easily identify if they are likely to face danger and can then get straight forward advice to help them do the job safely.”

Source:Evening Chronicle

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When an inspector calls...part 2.

14th October 2014
Its not exactly ‘cloak and dagger’ or ‘Agatha Christie’s latest murder mystery’......but often enough their presence on site can sometimes make the difference between life or death! Curious...? read on.

Here is the second blog in our series of blogs telling you all you need to know about the Health & Safety Executive

Health as well as safety’ is the message during this year’s Construction Initiative being undertaken by the HSE. As poor standards and unsafe practices on Britain’s building sites are being targeted during a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

During October this year the HSE Construction Inspectors will carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This is the ninth annual Initiative and building on previous campaigns, HSE Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

What the initiative does
The main aims of the initiative are:
• to achieve an improvement in industry standards, in particular at small sites
• to increase awareness of HSE’s expectations of the industry
• to demonstrate that HSE will use the enforcement tools at its disposal to prevent immediate risk and bring about sustained improvements

What inspectors look for?
During inspections, HSE inspectors will consider whether:
• risks to health from exposure to dust such as silica are being controlled
• workers are aware of where they may find asbestos, and what to do if they find it
• other health risks, such as exposure to noise and vibration, manual handling, hazardous substances are being properly managed
• jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions, such as proper support of structures, are in place
• equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
• sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls, walkways and stairs are free from obstructions and welfare facilities are adequate
HSE uses the inspection initiatives to reinforce its message to the construction industry that poor standards are unacceptable and liable to result in HSE taking enforcement action.

And of course just to finish off........any action taken against the employer can result in the implementation of intervention fees which have just recently been introduced by the HSE, for more information on these, see our previous blog?

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HSE introduce charging fees!

11th October 2014
If you are breaking health and safety laws, HSE may recover its costs from
you by charging a fee for the time and effort it spends on helping you to put
the matter right, investigating and taking enforcement action.

This is called....Intervention Fees introduced from October 1st 2014.

What is fee for intervention (FFI)?
HSE’s inspectors inspect work activities and investigate incidents and complaints.
If, when visiting your business, they see material breaches of the law, you will have to pay a fee. The fee is based on the amount of time that the inspector has had to spend identifying the breach, helping you to put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action.

Why is FFI being introduced?
HSE and the government believe it is right that businesses that break health and
safety laws should pay for HSE’s time in putting matters right, investigating and
taking enforcement action. Before FFI was introduced, this was paid for from the
public purse. FFI will also encourage businesses to comply in the first place or put matters right quickly when they don’t. It will also discourage businesses who think that they can undercut their competitors by not complying with the law and putting people at risk.

Will FFI apply to me?
If you comply with the law you won’t pay a fee. FFI only applies to work carried out by HSE’s inspectors so if your business is inspected for health and safety by another regulator, such as local authority environmental health officers, it will not apply.

FFI will apply to all businesses and organisations inspected by HSE, except for:
• self-employed people who don’t put people at risk by their work;
• those who are already paying fees to HSE for the work through other
• arrangements; and
• those who deliberately work with certain biological agents

Need to know more?.......check it all out by visiting:

HSE
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HSE Launch new campaign on asbestos exposure

9th October 2014
Construction workers and trades people including carpenters and painters could come into contact with asbestos more than 100 times a year, with few knowing whether the deadly dust is in newer buildings, according to a report.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a new safety campaign amid concerns of confusion on how to combat exposure to asbestos.
With 20 people dying every week from asbestos-related diseases, the HSE revealed some common myths, such as drinking water or opening a window to keep workers safe.

A survey of 500 trades people showed that fewer than a third could identify the correct measures for safe asbestos working, while only 15% knew that the dust could still be found in buildings built up to the year 2000.
Fewer than one in five knew that asbestos could be hidden in toilet seats and cisterns.

Health and safety minister Mark Harper said: "The number dying every year from asbestos-related diseases is unacceptably high. Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to trades people. This safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves."
Philip White, HSE's chief inspector for construction, said: "Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that the people who come into contact with it regularly often don't know where it could be and worryingly don't know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm's way.

"Our new campaign aims to help trades people understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe. Our new web app is designed for use on a job so workers can easily identify if they are likely to face danger and can then get straightforward advice to help them do the job safely."
Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said, "Construction workers are the greatest risk of being exposed to asbestos.

Any campaign that warns workers of the dangers of asbestos is to be welcomed. However the campaign needs to be as wide-ranging as possible and should not be confined to one company to distribute information.
"Over the last four and a half years, thousands of workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos and their health has been put at risk because of that decision"

"It is vital that construction workers receive proper training in the dangers of asbestos, where it is likely to be found and what to do if you suspect asbestosis present. It is essential that pressure is placed on employers to ensure that training takes place and that workers are not victimised or threatened when raising concerns about asbestos, which is often the case."

Source: yahoo
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When an Inspector calls....

6th October 2014
In this latest series of blogs we would like to tell you about The Health & Safety Executive.
We will look at who they are and what they do to protect you and your employees and of course even members of the public from accidents and ill health.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness. They are an independent regulator and act in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces.

The HSE was formed in 1975 with the remit to undertake the requirements of the Health and Safety Commission and to enforce health and safety legislation in all workplaces, except those regulated by Local Authorities.

The HSE was set up in order to support the Government’s strategic aims and current targets for health and safety at work. Its main aim is to secure the health, safety and welfare of people at work and protect others from risks to health and safety from work activity.

The HSE’s mission is:
“The prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities”

What Powers does The HSE Have?
The HSE can visit any workplace at any time to carry out a health and safety inspection. They can investigate following a report of an injury or a suspected unsafe working practice, which may breach health and safety legislation.

If a HSE inspector considers that health and safety law is being broken, or activities give rise to a serious risk, they can if necessary place upon the employer or indeed the employee the following notices or even prosecute where required......so if you didn’t know just exactly what powers the HSE have read on..

Informal Warning
Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the duty holder what he needs to do to comply with the law.

Improvement Notice
Where the breach of the law is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice to tell the duty holder to do something to comply with the law. The notice will say what needs to be done, why, and by when (at least 21 days). The inspector can take further legal action if the notice is not complied with within the specified time period.

Prohibition Notice
Where an activity may or does involve, a risk of serious personal injury (or worse), the inspector may serve a notice prohibiting the activity immediately and not allowing it to be resumed until suitable remedial action has been taken. This may include closing the whole site down.

Prosecution
In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution. Health and safety law gives the courts considerable scope for punishing offenders and deterring others.

The maximum penalty possible under health and safety legislation depends on the offence. For example, a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, or a court remedy order, carries a fine of up to £20,000, or six months’ imprisonment, or both. Unlimited fines and in some cases imprisonment may be imposed by higher courts.

Recent cases have seen one company fined £160,000 for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which led to a worker falling to his death; another company was fined £30,000 for a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 for failure to plan, supervise and carry out lifting safely.

Keep checking back to our blog site.....theres more coming your way about the HSE!


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75 percent of schools in England and Wales contain asbestos

2nd October 2014
Did you know that a recent parliamentary report has estimated that three out of every four schools in England and Wales contain asbestos?

Despite huge investment by Governments over many years in the re-building and creating a better school environment for children within the United Kingdom, this shocking fact is still of major concern to many local authority and private education establishments throughout the country.

Asbestos in schools has long been a major problem since the increase in the uses of asbestos hurtled out of control during the 1950’s to the 1980’s.........today it is still a problem that needs to be taken extremely seriously.
Shockingly and also in addition to this revelation, the House of Commons education committee has heard up to 300 former pupils die each year from exposure to asbestos.

As a result, numerous organisations including the National Union of Teachers (NUT) have called for urgent action to ensure that all materials containing asbestos are removed from educational facilities as soon as possible.
The report entitled Asbestos in Schools provides a comprehensive background to the problem stating that:

'Fourteen thousand schools were built after the Second World War and almost all those built before 1975 contain asbestos. Most of the other schools that were refurbished during this period also contain asbestos.'
The report also identifies materials that cause the greatest concern when it comes to asbestos including lagging used on pipes and in boiler rooms and also areas where asbestos has been sprayed, such as ceilings and around structural beams.

Its is a long established fact that the UK has the highest Mesothelioma incidence in the world, at more than twice that of France, Germany or the USA. An HSE report concluded that this is because of the quantity and types of asbestos that Britain imported although all types of asbestos can cause Mesothelioma.

In order to find a solution to the issue, the report calls for a phased removal of all materials containing asbestos containing materials from schools. People at risk from exposure to asbestos include Caretakers/Janitors, refurbishment workers and even parents who sometimes carry out ‘ad-hock’ repairs and ‘odd-jobs’ in and around the school properties.

The Asbestos Specialists provide a wide range of courses specifically aimed and built around the problem of asbestos in schools, ranging from The Management of Asbestos to basic asbestos awareness courses which of course are all fully compliant and approved by recognised associations and bodies such as UKATA and RoSPA, call us if you want to know more.


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Introducing the RoSPA Approved Duty to Manage on-line course.

18th August 2014
The Asbestos Specialists in another asbestos training industry first today are proud to announce the launch of The Duty to Manage online and face 2 face training courses.

The Duty to Manage Asbestos training course is directed at those who manage non-domestic premises: the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill health that exposure to asbestos causes.

RoSPA Approved
The e-learning (on-line) course


The Asbestos Specialists can offer you the opportunity to undertake the Duty to Manage Asbestos training course through two routes; traditional face-to-face training or our industry leading online version. Both courses are examination based and are fully certificated. The course will assist building owners to comply with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and ACoP L143 (second edition). This course is suitable for delegates who already have attained an approved asbestos awareness qualification.

Face-to-Face Option
Available as both in-house and at locations throughout the UK. The in-house option can accommodate up to a maximum of 15 delegates. It follows all relevant guidance published by the HSE. The course includes specific information contained with HSG 264 and ACoP L143. This course is a 2-day training course that includes a tutor-led practical exercise on asbestos risk assessments and use of the priority assessment – HSG 227. The course is also inclusive of a 1-hour examination externally marked. Certification is issued on successful completion of the course.

This course is available in the following training centre locations:

South East, South West, Midlands, North West, North East and Central Scotland.
Call us for dates and booking details


If you are interested in either of our industry leading asbestos management Duty to Manage courses......just give our expert training advisers a call, we will guide you to the most cost efficient route to gaining this vital qualification to enable you to comply with The Control of Asbestos Regulations.

Another first for the UK’s most innovative asbestos training provider.
”...we would rather fail in originality than succeed in imitation...”

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We train right…we train real!

17th August 2014
Every trainer employed by The Asbestos Specialists undergoes stringent knowledge and industry experience background checks to meet our criteria. The United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) will also approve each Asbestos Specialists trainer; only after receiving this approval will we allow them to provide your training courses.

Asbestos is an emotive issue, asbestos is the ‘hidden killer’ and as such training in asbestos awareness has to be carried out in a way that doesn’t over exaggerate and misinform you of the dangers, it is important to remember asbestos is perfectly safe in most circumstances. Asbestos in good condition, or not going to get damaged, is perfectly safe!

The handling and disturbance of asbestos is a very tricky business, this is why we will make sure that when you train with us we make it very clear of what you can and can’t do - as well as what you must do to protect you, your employees, or even, your family from this hazardous fibre.

Every course we provide is thoroughly checked and audited by UKATA. We believe in providing you with clear and concise information on asbestos.

Originality and professionalism are our ‘watch words’ and our company maxim is: ‘we would rather fail in originality than to succeed in imitation’; We stand by it.


Not sure which training course you need? Call us now, we will be happy to discuss your requirements.
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A portrait of the ‘magic mineral’:

9th August 2014
5 surprising facts about asbestos.

With graphic descriptive terms used to describe it, such as ‘the hidden killer’ and ‘deadly fibre’, the discovery or presumption that you may have asbestos in your workplace or even in your home is enough to strike fear into the minds of many people – and rightly so. Despite there being legislative controls to protect workers and members of the public from the 1930s right up until 2012, asbestos is still the single greatest cause of UK work related deaths and to this day it also remains a source of misery and ill-health the world over.

Here are 7 of some of the most surprising facts about asbestos…

1. Asbestos is a natural product – and still mined today:
Yes, asbestos is actually a mineral, unlike many other dangerous materials and substances found in the workplace, asbestos is not manmade. It’s not made in ‘asbestos factories’ - it is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with long, thin needle fibres or soft silky strong fibres held within the rock which is mined from the earth – a practice which is still carried out in many countries such as Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and, up until 2011, in Canada. In 2009, there were still two million tonnes of asbestos fibre mined worldwide.

2. Asbestos refers to a group of minerals:
The term ‘asbestos’ actually refers to a set of six minerals. All six are strong, heat resistant and chemically inert – properties that originally made it such a desirable material for a range of products and applications. Of the six types, three were commonly used in the UK:
chrysotile (white asbestos),
amosite (brown asbestos) and
crocidolite (blue asbestos).
All six have been found to harm human health due to the long term damage that breathing microscopic asbestos fibres causes to the lungs.

3. We have used asbestos for almost 5000 years:
The earliest known use of asbestos was in about 2,500 B.C in what is now Finland, where fibres were mixed with clay to form stronger ceramic utensils and pots. Since then it was used by most of the world’s major civilisations, including the ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians, where its fire-resistant properties were heralded by many as a form of ‘magic’. However, it wasn’t until 1858 that the asbestos industry formally began, when the Johns Mannville Company in New York began mining asbestos for use as industrial insulation.

4. Remarkable but true:
It might seem absolutely incredible to us now that we are aware of its dangers but, during the 1950s, asbestos was used as a medium in cigarette filters. Between 1953 and 1957 it is estimated that over 13 billion ‘Kent Micronite’ cigarettes were sold worldwide, mostly in the USA. Blue asbestos was used within the filter material to remove the heat from the smoke and tar from the tobacco.
Actually within the first half of the twentieth century asbestos was used in a variety of surprising applications. Back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, for example, asbestos was within a fake snow product that was used as a Christmas decoration. Its heat-resistant properties meant it was thought of much lower fire risk than alternatives – and it was even used on the film sets of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’


5. Asbestos exposure kills somebody every five hours:
As early as the 1930s it was understood that exposure to asbestos fibres could cause the disease which is known as asbestosis. However since then we have also discovered other diseases associated with being exposed to asbestos fibres.
The most serious disease is mesothelioma – cancer of the outer lining of the lung which is invariably fatal. Due to the risks posed by other people such as family members and ancillary workers who may have been subject to indirect exposure, it is difficult to put an exact figure on the number killed. However, the British Lung Foundation and the Health and Safety Executive estimate that more than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the UK and someone dies every five hours. What’s more, in a report called the ‘Projection of Mesothelioma Mortality in Great Britain’, produced for the HSE, around 91,000 deaths are predicted to occur in the UK by 2050 as a direct result of exposure to asbestos.
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Our Vision, our Mission

9th August 2014
Our vision and mission statements are the purpose of our Company business and the reason for our Company’s existence.

Our vision and mission statements will guide the Asbestos Specialists to spell out our overall goal, provide a path, and guide us with business decision-making.
Commenting on the launch of the company statements Managing Director Les Cooper said:

“...these statements will provide the framework or context within which the company's existing or future business strategies that are, or will be formulated. We take our statements seriously, they are a clear way forward, they are a goal for what the Asbestos Specialists as a company wants to achieve in the asbestos related training industry...”

Company motto
“...we would rather fail in originality than to succeed in imitation...”

Vision Statement
The guiding vision of The Asbestos Specialists is "To bring the best to everyone we deal with". What do we mean by the ‘best’...? we mean the best customer service, the best training and the best price. These three pillars have been the hallmarks of our Company since its foundation in 2003. They remain the foundations which we will continue to build upon.

Mission Statement
To supply outstanding service and training solutions through dedication, innovation and excellence. To become and sustain the position of undisputed marketplace leaders in asbestos related training.




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