Asbestos Awareness

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 specify three levels of training that are required when asbestos containing materials (ACMs) may be present.

Any time that work is being carried out on ACMs, such as Asbestos Insulating Board, and that the control limit for fibre release is likely to be exceeded the contractor must be licensed by the HSE and the work Notified.

For work on ACMs that are firmly bound in a matrix, such as cement products or floor tiles, the contractor does not need to be licensed but they still require training in asbestos removal methods.

Other workers, such as construction workers and maintenance operatives, that may come into contact with ACMs during the normal course of their trade but that are not working directly with asbestos are required to attend asbestos awareness courses. These courses will inform them about the type of materials that may contain asbestos, the places that it was commonly used and what to do if they come across such materials.

The United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is currently the only body in the UK that can give accreditation to companies providing awareness training.

RJS Waste Management UK Limited can advise you on whether your workers need to have this training and source courses in your locale if required.

It is common for people that have undergone awareness training to start spotting suspicious materials during the course of their normal duties and at this point you may ask the question “do I need an asbestos survey?”

In fact, as a duty holder, you already have a duty under law to identify ACMs in your premises so that your staff are not at risk of exposure to released fibres. Awareness training should be the next step taken once you have determined through a survey that your property contains asbestos materials.

If you run a construction company and your workers are entering properties that may contain asbestos you have a responsibility under the Health & Safety at Work Act to ensure that a survey report exists or to commission one before you start your project. Your workers must still have awareness training in case something is uncovered during your works but it is far preferable for any asbestos containing materials to have been identified and removed long before your employees can be exposed.

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