It wasn’t until 1999 that the use of materials containing asbestos was banned, which means there’s still a lot of scope for different types of workers to come into contact with it, in particular construction workers.
As an employee, if your job requires possible disturbance of asbestos containing materials then you must have been adequately trained. Employers need to ensure that anyone in their employ has received training form a recognised body before coming into contact with asbestos.
What Asbestos Training Offers
Anyone who runs the risk of contact with asbestos at work should undertake training that will enable them to recognise materials that may possibly contain asbestos and understand what action to take. The training undertaken should be appropriate to the individual dependent on the type of work that he or she will be doing. The three types of asbestos training include:
- Training for asbestos work that requires an HSE licence
- Training for asbestos work that does not require and HSE licence
- Awareness Training
This level of training is ideal for those who may disturb asbestos whilst carrying out their normal work, or those who may influence how any work is approached. For Example:
- Demolition workers
- Computer installers
- Gas fitters
- Shop fitters
Asbestos Awareness training will provide people in these or similar roles with the information they need to avoid the risk of coming into contact with asbestos and properly protect themselves.
- Awareness training will generally include the following:
- What asbestos is and how contact with it can affect the health
- The likely occurrence, uses and types of asbestos in places of work
- What to do in an emergency – e.g. if asbestos dust is accidentally released
- How to avoid exposure to asbestos
Non-Licensable Asbestos Work
Some work with asbestos does not require a licence. Workers who require asbestos training are likely to need to carry out tasks such as the following:
- Repairing or cleaning asbestos cement sheet cladding or roofing
- Removing flooring containing asbestos
- Laying cables in areas where undamaged asbestos materials remain
- Drilling into asbestos materials
- Training generally includes the following topics:
- Legal requirements
- Emergency procedures
- How to handle waste
- How to use protective equipment
- Safe work practices
- Correct use of control measures
- How to assess the risk of exposure to asbestos in different environments
Licenced Asbestos Work
In general, high risk work with materials containing asbestos should be carried out by a licenced professional. Only those who have appropriate training, are using the correct respiratory equipment and are under the supervision of a medical professional are able to undertake licenced work with asbestos. Managers, supervisors and operatives are most likely to need this type of training.
A refresher course should be taken at least once a year by anyone who is at risk of coming into contact with asbestos during their everyday work. This will help them keep safety at the forefront of their minds and ensure that any new work methods or equipment are kept up to date with.