Asbestos Awareness Training – Everything You Need to Know

Asbestos Awareness Training – What is it? Who is it for? Do I need it?

Well, if you work in the building or construction industry, the answer is categorically: YES!

With asbestos likely to be present in any building constructed prior to 2000, you are almost certain to encounter asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACMs) at some stage in your working life. Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK each year, and it is for this reason the Health and Safety Executive now has the most stringent regulations in place to control how asbestos is treated and removed. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 imposes a specific duty on all employers to provide adequate training for anyone likely to be exposed to asbestos fibres in the workplace. This requirement applies to self-employed individuals as well.

Evidence shows that the group of workers at highest risk from asbestos are tradespersons working on buildings containing high levels of ACMs. Most occupational exposure to asbestos occurs accidentally primarily through lack of awareness of any inherent hazard. That lack of awareness puts the worker, co-workers and general public on the premises at direct risk. So, if you are a builder, plumber, joiner, painter, decorator, plasterer, electrician, fitter or work in any other building or maintenance related trades asbestos awareness training is a must.

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos awareness training falls into three different categories depending on the level of your involvement with ACMs. This article looks at Category A asbestos awareness training which gives salient information on how to avoid direct contact with ACMs and what to do if you accidentally disturb asbestos in any premises in which you are working. This basic asbestos awareness training does not equip you to carry out any work with ACMs but is about asbestos, its dangers and how to keep you and others around you safe from exposure to asbestos fibres. If your work involves direct involvement with ACMs, you will need to complete either Category B training on non-licensable work with asbestos or Category C training which covers licensable asbestos work.

If in any doubt as to which training is most pertinent to you, be sure to complete a training needs analysis to identify what topics need to be covered in your training and to ensure you have the right instruction and competence to avoid putting you and others at risk in the workplace.

So, what can you expect to see covered on any asbestos awareness training that you sign up to?  You can expect to learn about asbestos itself which was a toxic but most durable and resistant material used in many buildings erected pre-2000. 1999 thankfully saw its use banned in the UK due to its proven direct link with diseases in people with a history of working in the construction industry.

You will be informed about the main types of asbestos likely to be encountered in the UK and instructed in its inherent risks and health hazards, how it causes harm and how certain mitigating factors can affect the damage it can cause to the body.  You will be given information on current legislation and guidance, the duties it imposes on employers, why it is now in place to safeguard both you and others in terms of asbestos in your workplace.

Training will also give insight into the different ways and materials that asbestos was used such as lagging, textured coatings, floor tiles, textiles, asbestos cement products, insulating boards and composites, the list is endless as asbestos was used in numerous different ways for decades. There are no hard and fast rules as to where it might be located. With its wide spread use the training will assist in identifying suspect materials, how to work safely where ACMs may be present and how to avoid the risk of accidental exposure.

Finally, training will give expert advice on what to do should accidental damage occur, how to instigate emergency procedures in terms of safeguarding those present, reduce the risk of exposure to others in the building and how, if necessary, to isolate the area affected.

Asbestos awareness training is intended to assist workers in recognising ACMs and, therefore, avoid carrying out work that may disturb asbestos. It is advisable to attend refresher training on a regular basis to ensure asbestos awareness is maintained and is up-to-date. There are various ways of undertaking refresher training that can rule out having to attend a more formal training course, e-learning packages are one option or attending a refresher course is another.

Get Started with Casa Environmental Services

So now you understand the reasons for attending asbestos awareness training your next task is to find a competent training provider. Whilst not endorsing any of the organisations it lists, the Health and Safety Executive gives various links to organisations offering asbestos training. The choice is effectively down to you. In choosing your provider do ensure however that any training organisation has adequate experience in the asbestos industry and training in particular.

Casa Environmental Services are perfectly positioned to help with your asbestos awareness training. With our experience and proven track record with asbestos removal, surveying, training and consultancy, we can guarantee our experienced consultants will offer you a top of the range asbestos awareness training course, equipping you with all the knowledge you need to perform your job safely. For a no-obligation discussion on how we can serve you, please contact us today.