Training requirements to work with Asbestos
Asbestos was an extremely popular material used in both domestic and commercial construction projects up until the 1970s. In 1977, the global demand for asbestos hit a peak of nearly 4.8 million metrics tones being produced each year, but as the effects that asbestos has on human health became more apparent, asbestos usage started to wane, although many homes built pre-1980 still contain asbestos. It wasn’t until 1999 that Chrysotile (the most commonly used form) was banned, alongside a complete ban on the import, manufacture and use of asbestos in the UK.
Because so many buildings still contain asbestos (particularly amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos)), it is essential that anyone at risk of working with or around asbestos that will be disturbed not only wears the correct PPE, but also undertakes full training for working with this hazardous material. Exposure to asbestos fibres (which are released if the material is disturbed) can cause a range of health problems that may have eventual fatal consequences such as; lung cancer, larynx cancer and mesothelioma, so it essential that all who may come into contact are protected.
Legal training requirements
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 are the most recent set of regulations for working with this material and combine previous sets of regulations covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing. There are different training course options available that adhere to these regulations in order to ensure workers and supervisors are able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know how to protect themselves and others. Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that, “Every employer must ensure that [their] employee[s] are given adequate information, instruction and training where that employee is, or is liable to be, exposed to asbestos, or if that employee supervises such employees.”, so it is very important that asbestos training is given prior to any work taking place.
It must be noted that whilst it is not a legal requirement to hold a certificate of training to work with asbestos, only licensed contractors can carry out work with higher-risk asbestos-containing materials. These workers will need to undertake specific asbestos related training courses and use appropriate PPE and respiratory equipment in order to commence work
Asbestos training courses
There are a number of asbestos training courses that relate to different aspects of working with this material, including asbestos awareness, management removal and testing. Course delivery is available throughout the UK, either as open courses or as dedicated courses on customers’ own sites.
Asbestos Awareness training
This is the lowest level of Asbestos training and is suitable for anyone who may encounter asbestos but does not need to work with it or remove it. This may include supervisors, trade personnel and shopfitters. As there may still be risks with exposure, people in this category will need to know what the risks are and how to avoid them.
There are also Asbestos Awareness courses available for specific personnel including fire marshals, architects and designers. Refresher courses are also available, as are e-learning options.
Non-Licensed Asbestos Work
This is for those who work in construction and know that their activities could disturb ACMs; this course details how to carry out non-licensed Asbestos removal works including the legal requirements, safe working practices and safe disposal.
Refresher courses are also available.
Surveying and Sampling Strategies for Asbestos in Buildings
This course is for those who survey buildings to identify asbestos and how to minimise exposure to any asbestos that is identified.
Management of Asbestos in Buildings
This course looks to provide skills and practical knowledge for those who need to manage asbestos in buildings and also covers basic safe asbestos removal practices.