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The latest FAAM conference was held this week in Birmingham, and top of the agenda was the Right Honourable Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, who talked about their report into HSE Approach to Asbestos Management. This was closely followed by Garry Burdett giving an update on the latest from the ECHA and their proposals to reduce the Occupation Exposure Limits for workers. This could mean the UK Control limit and clearance indicator dropping by an order of magnitude to 0.01 and 0.001 f/ml respectively. The impact on the Licensed Asbestos industry would be significant and would likely necessitate the enhancement of control measures still further to reduce fibre release… 

Another impact of a reducing OEL would be in the methods for analysis, the usual PCM is already at practical limits but the replacement of this with electron microscopy is not straight forward. This is where Remy Franken stepped up to explain the latest in the comparison of PCM techniques with TEM and SEM, with the former delivering a much closer correlation to PCM than the latter. 

Kevin Bampton, CEO of BOHS, gave a couple of talks throughout the event including a really interesting and interactive look at the psychological and physical safety of workforces, and how the law underpins the health and wellbeing of employees. This showed how employer risk assessments need to address these issues to avoid the potential negative outcome for all. 

Daniel Rushton was also on the stage giving an update on the Alert system that is being actively trialled on a range of sites around the UK.  TICA-ACAD supported the initial development work so we’re particularly pleased to see it reach this latest milestone.

ACAD Manager Graham Warren delivered a well-received talk on the importance of the supervisor handover form to bring the two-day event to a close. Graham talked around the drivers that have brought this form into common usage from its initial launch back in 2018. 

ACAD’s ongoing member survey also provided some useful statistics to demonstrate the impact the form has had on the industry and how it has contributed to the increasing level of responsibility of the site supervisor who has arguably the most important role in the Licensed Asbestos industry. 

Graham went on to illustrate how the L3 NVQ fits perfectly with the enhanced and more rounded level of competence needed as ACAD drives the shift from a trained workforce to a qualified, competent workforce. 

And finally, Colette Willoughby gave an update on the work of the Women in Asbestos Working Group. The entire industry was shocked when the revelations around female safety on site came out a year ago, and this group has been meeting regularly to help identify what we can all do to address this and other issues. As part of this, representatives of this group will be attending some of the next round of ACAD regional meetings where members will get to hear the very latest from the group directly and will be encouraged to offer support and input into this crucial area. 

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