The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) recently held its fourth annual AGM at Villa Park, home to Aston Villa Football Club.

During the meeting the record number members heard keynote speaker, Dr Martin Gibson from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reaffirm the importance of proper training when it comes to working with asbestos.

As HM principal specialist inspector for the HSE, Gibson’s address covered the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. He outlined the current situation in terms of regulations from both the EU and the UK and used his address to explain that the HSE is not planning any significant additional enforcement activity for new categories of asbestos work.

New guidelines have been designed to drive home the message on asbestos, and while the overriding message is that common sense should prevail, the onus has been placed on approved contractors to determine whether asbestos work is notifiable or not.

“The board of directors were delighted to secure such a high profile and prominent speaker from HSE for our keynote address, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all who attended in thanking Dr Gibson for his time and invaluable insight into the current state of play in the asbestos industry,” said UKATA technical and operations manager Terry Barker.

“We all understand the importance of the highest standards when it comes to asbestos training, and it was important to hear the HSE spell out that those who carry out work must be trained and competent to do so, which UKATA is committed to helping facilitate. As ever, when it comes to asbestos, the precautionary principle should prevail.”

“This AGM is further proof of UKATA’s growing recognition as the market leader in promoting best practice among asbestos training providers,” said UKATA chairman Mike Smith. “Our 40% growth in membership tells its own story and Dr Gibson’s attendance and the earlier success of the training pledge initiative demonstrates that we can work together with the HSE and take the lead on key asbestos training initiatives.”