10 FAQs About Asbestos Awareness Training, Certification, Tests and Cost

  1. What is Asbestos Awareness Training?
  2. How Often Should Asbestos Awareness Training Be Done?
  3. How Long Does an Asbestos Certificate Last?
  4. How Much Does Asbestos Awareness Training Cost?
  5. How Do You Identify Asbestos?
  6. How Do You Detect Asbestos?
  7. What is the Risk if You Find Asbestos at Work?
  8. What to do if You Discover Asbestos at Work?
  9. What Should I Do if I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos Accidentally?
  10. How is Asbestos Disposed of?

At Commodious, we frequently get asked: What is asbestos awareness training? How much does it cost? How often do I have to take asbestos awareness training?

Our training courses have made us experts. In this article, we delve into the answers to ten frequently asked questions our course takers have asked.

Check out this snippet from our course to see what we mean:

What is asbestos awareness training?

The legislation surrounding this topic is the "The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012'. These regulations protect workers and occupants of non-domestic premises from exposure to Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) by imposing a duty on owners and managers to:

  • Find out whether the premises contain asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what condition it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain asbestos.
  • Assess the risk, and plan to manage and act on it.
  • Make information about the location, condition, and management of asbestos available to anyone working on the fabric of the building.

Furthermore, Regulation 10 is specifically about training. It says employees must ensure that employees are given enough information, instruction and training where that employee is, or is liable to be, exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos was widely used in many UK products before the law banned importing and producing asbestos products in 2000. It's important to note that 50% of buildings constructed before 1999 contain asbestos in various forms, so it is probable that you will come across asbestos-containing materials at some point. 

Asbestos awareness training (sometimes referred to as Cat. A asbestos training) satisfies the first three requirements of the regulations, those being that employees are aware of:

(i)the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including its interaction with smoking,

(ii)the types of products or materials likely to contain asbestos,

(iii)the operations which could result in asbestos exposure and the importance of preventive controls to minimise exposure.

The complete Regulation 10 is available here.

Asbestos awareness training must satisfy parts (i), (ii), and (iii) of Regulation 10 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. 

Asbestos awareness training gives workers and supervisors the knowledge they need to avoid doing work that might disturb asbestos during everyday work. It won't teach workers or independent contractors how to work with materials that have asbestos in them. 

Workers who want to do work that will disturb ACMs will need further training.

Here are some examples of people who might disturb asbestos in their profession: 

  • general maintenance workers,
  • electricians, 
  • plumbers, 
  • joiners, 
  • painters and decorators, 
  • plasterers, 
  • construction workers, 
  • roofers, 
  • shopfitters, 
  • gas fitters, 
  • heating and ventilation engineers, 
  • demolition workers, 
  • telecommunication engineers, 
  • fire/burglar alarm installers, 
  • computer and data installers, 
  • architects and building surveyors. 

This list is not exhaustive, and other professional situations may disturb ACMs.

Training about asbestos awareness should cover the following: 

  • the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, such as the higher risk of lung cancer for asbestos workers who smoke; 
  • the types of uses and likely presence of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings and plants; 
  • the general procedures for dealing with an emergency, such as an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace;
  • and how to get rid of asbestos.

Online learning is being used increasingly to teach people about asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agrees that e-learning is an excellent way to teach people about asbestos, as long as it meets the requirements of Regulation 10 of the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations and the supporting Approved Code of Practice L143, "Managing and working with asbestos."

Section 3 stipulates that an employer or self-employed person must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that their undertaking does not risk the health and safety of people who are not their employees. This regulation applies to landlords of domestic premises and tradespeople, including builders, decorators, plumbers, and electricians. 

Although the laws do not apply to domestic premises, it is essential to note that where the asbestos regulations do not apply directly, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 still imposes a legal duty of care. If you employ someone to carry out house renovations, even though the property is domestic and exempt from the regulations and therefore does not require an asbestos report - you have a duty of care to your employee. Consequently, you do come under the same rules. 

If you are a sole trader, your duty of care applies to anybody you may harm through your activities, such as disturbing asbestos while working on domestic property.

Therefore, anybody who works on the fabric of a building should have asbestos awareness training, but it is important to note that asbestos awareness training or Cat. A, sometimes called level 1, is only intended to help avoid work that will disturb asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACMs); it does not prepare people to carry out work with asbestos-containing materials. If you have to work with asbestos, two higher levels of information are required, instruction and training. These are:

  • Non-licensable work with asbestos, including NNLW (Cat. B training).
  • Licensable work with asbestos. (Cat. C training). 

How often should asbestos awareness training be done?

The HSE makes it clear that asbestos awareness training helps workers avoid doing work that will disturb asbestos. There is no law that says you must take a full formal awareness refresher course every year. But, if necessary, some kind of refresher should be given to make sure that awareness of asbestos is kept up.

Instead of a formal training course, refresher training could be done through e-learning or as part of other health and safety updates. For instance, an employer, manager, or supervisor who has taken a course on safety awareness and is qualified to do so could give an update or safety talk to employees at their workplace. Most of the time, all that is needed to refresh knowledge and skills is a practical, common-sense approach based on an assessment of each person's skills and training needs.

Employees who have already been trained for work that requires or doesn't require a licence don't need to do the lower-level awareness refresher training.

How Long Does An Asbestos Certificate Last?

Any reputable asbestos awareness training provider will have a knowledge assessment at the course's end, and a certificate showing the training has been completed and understood.

The HSE does not insist on annual asbestos awareness refresher training or certificates BUT many accreditation organisations require asbestos awareness certificates are issued within the last 12 months.

For example, CHAS, a leading compliance and risk management accreditor, says that it will look for proof that there is a continuous process of training and building up professional experience. It requires that asbestos awareness training be updated every year. 

CHAS is a member of Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP). Other member organisations include SMASConstructionLine or Exor Safecontractor. A complete list of Safety Sytems in Procurement (SSIP) members is available here.

Our experience at Commodious shows that most local authorities, large construction companies, and contractors also insist that you receive training and certification annually. 

For most tradespeople and construction workers, asbestos awareness training and certificates will need to be carried out annually, leading to the following frequently asked question. 

How much does asbestos awareness training cost?

The costs vary enormously from one training provider to another. Still, as already stated, the HSE endorses e-learning or online learning as an efficient, cost-effective way of delivering asbestos awareness training. 

At Commodious provide online asbestos awareness training; we are members of the Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP), an association listed by the HSE.

Some other training groups whose members offer training on how to work with asbestos are:

Our price for the course is £10 + VAT maximum and can be purchased for less in bundle deals (as little as £2.50 + VAT) or volume discounts, charity discounts, and social enterprise member discounts. We also give discounts to returning customers carrying out annual refresher training. 

We believe that our online training offers unparalleled value among reputable providers listed by HSE. The certificates bear the IATP logo and are universally accepted. For more information or to purchase, click the link below.

Asbestos Awareness Course Online 2020 | Commodious Online Training

Comply with the regulations with our asbestos awareness course online. IATP accredited meets HSE standards and has instant access to certification completion.



Further Reading

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Bethany Wesson

Bethany Wesson

Bethany is a freelance content writer and has produced articles for the Commodious Knowledge Bank since 2023. She has written about various health and safety topics, from asbestos to mindful business practices.

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