Asbestos awareness training - your responsibilities

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The need for specialist training for staff involved in asbestos removal jobs is obvious, but what some employers do not know is that many other workers also require asbestos awareness training.

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, training is mandatory for anyone who may be liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work. In practice, that means employers must ensure all maintenance, trades and construction staff attend courses, as they may encounter asbestos in any building constructed before 2000.

Demolition workers also require training, as do HVAC, alarm, telecoms and computer installation engineers, as they may all encounter asbestos containing materials as part of their day-to-day work. Supervisors, surveyors and other less hands-on site workers should attend awareness courses as well.

Self-employed contractors are responsible for their own training and ensuring they have the knowledge needed to protect themselves and others from the risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres. However, site managers, property owners and main contractors should check that anyone they hire on a self-employed basis or via an agency has attended the correct courses.

What should a good asbestos awareness course cover?

Training will cover everything that workers need to know about asbestos to undertake their job safely, without risk to themselves, colleagues or the public. The course will not teach them how to work with or remove asbestos (higher level training is required for that), but it will provide them with invaluable safety information.

The main focus is on recognising asbestos containing materials, in particular those that are most commonly used in buildings and plant. The training will also cover how to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos while at work.

As accidents can happen, especially if workers have not been informed of the presence of asbestos, good training will deal with what to do in the event of fibres being disturbed and released into a workplace.

Finally, it will cover exactly why work with asbestos is restricted, highlighting the health issues involved.

How often should workers have asbestos awareness refresher training?

The law does not state how often workers should attend asbestos awareness courses, but it is generally accepted that staff in jobs in which they may encounter the substance should have some form of refresher training every 12 months.

As well as helping to remind them of things they learned on the original course, refresher training is a good opportunity to cover any updated safety advice and for workers to ask questions about situations they have encountered.

Companies that provide maintenance services and self-employed contractors may also find that being able to demonstrate that their asbestos awareness training is up to date helps to reassure prospective clients about their suitability for jobs.

Bespoke asbestos awareness training from BLS Asbestos

BLS Asbestos runs a programme of asbestos awareness courses at a training facility at its head office in Yorkshire. As well as general courses, we can create bespoke training that caters for specific trades or professions, such as electricians or building surveyors.

For further information about BLS Asbestos’s training courses, please call 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.

Published: 29th January 2015