UKNAR – UK National Asbestos Register CIC is delighted to have been awarded a European Regional Development grant which will enable the newly formed community interest company to double its Asbestos SMART trials base among the 80%of UK schools where asbestos is present and remains a persistent and deadly risk.
UKNAR’s School Campaign
Whilst schools have been undergoing the necessary health and safety works needed to reopen, UKNAR has been working hard to communicate the asbestos safeguarding message to local authorities and MAT’s with the aim of protecting onsite maintenance teams, contractors, staff and students from unnecessary, accidental asbestos exposures.
The campaign has been encouraging UK schools to join UKNAR’s national database with free user trial access to its Asbestos SMART technology.
What is Asbestos SMART?
Using QR codes, Asbestos SMART is a very simple, contactless, paperless system designed to help schools, dutyholders and their contractors manage their asbestos risks and asbestos registers in a more effective and straightforward way.
Why Asbestos SMART?
Asbestos SMART has been designed to save time, money and lives plus provide extra reassurance and evidence to conscientious dutyholders that they are continuing to manage and reduce this deadly risk effectively.
With Asbestos SMART the costs of administration are reduced for dutyholders and contractors alike, while the likelihood of delays to works or other potential and expensive disruption that may be caused by an accidental asbestos disturbance are minimised.
Simple reports allow dutyholders with responsibility for multiple schools to see how asbestos is being managed across different sites.
In addition, 5% of all Asbestos SMART licence fees go to UKNAR’s charity partners Mesothelioma UK in support of the 2,600 victims expected to die of asbestos related cancer in the UK this year.
Andrew Paten, Co-Founder UKNAR comments: “UKNAR’s social mission is to reduce the thousands of preventable asbestos exposures that happen in the UK every year and thus save countless preventable deaths and unnecessary suffering in future decades. Teachers and tradespeople have been proved to have exceptionally high death rates from the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma, while young people are believed to be even more vulnerable to the inhalation of asbestos fibres.
It has been reported that more than 200 teachers have died in the past 10 years from the effects of being exposed to asbestos. And for each teacher fatality, nine ex-pupils can also be expected to fall victim to the silent killer, a study claims – an average of almost 200 per year.
With asbestos still in 80% of UK schools it remains a persistent and potentially deadly issue that needs to be managed well. Unfortunately, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres. So even drilling a small hole or changing a light fitting can disturb and release millions of invisible but highly carcinogenic fibres without anyone noticing. These remain in the air and can be unwittingly inhaled by the building’s occupants.
Because of the very high costs involved in its safe removal we know it’s unrealistic to remove all asbestos from schools. However, UKNAR has now designed a simple solution that can save lives simply by better informing people of the whereabouts of asbestos and better educating them of its dangers.
Our simple Asbestos SMART system takes advantage of the ubiquitous smartphone (and now QR codes) to do this effectively and cheaply. This contactless approach means it is particularly helpful in managing contractors safely and efficiently in the current Covid environment. We really hope that dutyholders will join UKNAR and adopt Asbestos SMART as a simple, inexpensive way to help protect the next generation from unnecessary asbestos exposure.
The EU funding grant comes on the back of a very encouraging first response to our Asbestos SMART technology from dutyholders in schools and multi-academy trusts. UKNAR has taken on 50 schools as early adopters and are now looking for another 50 early adopter schools for our free user trials.
Albeit, just the tip of the iceberg, UKNAR hopes these trials will clearly demonstrate the advantages of taking a modern digital approach to managing a deadly 20th century problem that persists in the 21st century."