Working with asbestos-containing materials might cause health problems that cannot be detected until years later. Therefore it is essential to ensure all employees have received training before carrying out work that increases the risk of releasing asbestos fibres into the air. While all three types of training cover basic information on asbestos, some types of jobs will require more expertise and preparation. This article will help you identify the right level of training for your employees.
Asbestos is a term used to describe naturally occurring minerals banned in 1999 when it became clear that inhaling asbestos dust is a health hazard. Working with asbestos-containing materials carries a risk of developing lung cancer and other diseases. Exposing workers to asbestos without providing them with training is an offence.
All employers must comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This means that an employer is responsible for ensuring staff receives adequate training on the type of work to be carried out. To do that, an employer must first determine what risks employees might be exposed to.
Asbestos training can be divided into three categories, all of which cover information on risks of working with asbestos. Additionally, the trainings provide safety measures and guidance on what actions can be taken to reduce the potential exposure. These categories are:
You can learn more about these types of training in the following sections.
The Asbestos Awareness Training aims to educate the employees who might come in contact with asbestos on the risk of exposure and teach them how to avoid disturbing the asbestos-containing materials.
Other information this training should cover are:
Asbestos Awareness Training is suitable for employees who do not work with asbestos-containing materials directly. Examples of these professions include:
If this sounds like the level suitable for your employees, you can access Asbestos Awareness Training on our website.
Non-licensed asbestos training provides more comprehensive information on asbestos than the previous category as it is designed for employees who might come in direct contact with asbestos. These employees carry out non-licensed work that has to follow specific safety procedures to minimise the risk of exposure.
Examples of jobs that this training is dedicated to include professions from the previous section but with the condition that their work requires direct contact or potential disruption of asbestos. For instance, maintenance work such as painting asbestos insulation board provided it is not in poor condition.
The category B training should cover information on:
This type of work should be reported to a local building control body, and the staff involved has to complete category B training. Category B training includes additional information on the risks associated with notifiable work.
An employer has to decide whether work is notifiable by carrying out a through risk assessment that covers the types of materials to be worked on and their condition. To learn more on how to conduct a risk assessment read: How to do a risk assessment with free downloadable template. For instance, working on less friable materials that are less likely to be inhaled and for under an hour per week is considered notifiable non-licensed work.
If you are looking for appropriate training, consider our online risk assessment training course.
This is the highest level of training that provides guidance for high-risk work with asbestos-containing materials that a licensed contractor must carry out. It is an offence to undertake licensable tasks without a granted license. In addition, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), high-risk work must fulfil one of the following criteria:
An example of licensable work includes removing sprayed coatings, loose-fill insulation, asbestos millboard work, etc.
This training covers the same information as in category B but more depth. It also includes advice on on-site inspections, safe removal techniques, decontamination and more. In addition, theoretical training must always be followed by a practical test of the employees' knowledge.
You can refer to our previous article to find additional information on how often an asbestos training should be done and how long a training certificate lasts.