An explanation of the different types of training, both licensed and non-licensed, required to work with asbestos
Asbestos found its way into buildings primarily from the mid 1940’s through to 1999 when its use was banned in the UK. The legacy of its use is something the countries workforce continue to pay a high price for with ill-health and death attributable to exposure.
The various types of asbestos products present differing levels of risk to someone handling them and as such a means of categorising the products based on the potential for harm was introduced with appropriate training requirements for each group
What categories of training exist?
There are four distinct types of asbestos training provided to workers, these are:
- Licensed Asbestos Training (also referred to as Category C training)
- Notifiable Non-Licensed Asbestos Training (also referred to as Category B training)
- Non-Licensed Asbestos Training (Non-Notifiable)
- Asbestos Awareness Training (also referred to as Category A training)
Licensed Asbestos Training is reserved for organisations holding a license from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to work with the highest risk asbestos products. All their work is subject to a 14-day notification and work will be undertaken in enclosures operating under negative pressure with 3-stage airlocks and decontamination units on hand. Examples of licensed asbestos would be Sprayed Asbestos, Pipe-Lagging and most work with Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB).
Notifiable Non-Licensed Asbestos Training (and Non-Notifiable) covers work with lower risk asbestos materials which commonly occur in buildings. Such products would be artex, garage roof sheets and floor tiles. Workers and their managers can be trained up to competently work on these materials via a 1 day training course.
Asbestos Awareness Training is the foundation upon which all other types of asbestos training are built. By making sure those working on pre-2000 properties have a basic awareness, it is hoped a reduction in the harm caused by inadvertent exposures will occur. This basic level of training does not allow workers to disturb products containing asbestos.
What type of training do I need?
Use this handy flow-sheet prepared by the HSE to guide you as to which type of training your work may fall under:
A handy flow-chart to help determine the type of work likely to be carried out.
Do I need Non-Licensed Asbestos Training?
Up skilling your workforce to be able to competently handle works where asbestos is present can be a benefit. Not only are you raising their skill level but in doing so, their future health is better taken care of through increased knowledge and understanding. A skilled workforce is better able to identify and manage risks. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) explains the legalities around who should be trained and what that training should cover. By choosing an accredited training provider you will have the necessary evidence to back up your processes.
Who should be trained?
For all types of asbestos training it is key that we can demonstrate competence across all levels of a company. So, whilst it’s often tempting to arrange training solely for those who are hands on, it is equally important to ensure management and safety representatives attend too. By training competence across an organisation the likelihood of costly infringements are reduced.
How regularly should asbestos training be refreshed?
Most types of asbestos training require an annual refresher. More explicit guidance is given in Regulation 10 of the CAR 2012. It is important that refresher training is focussed on the needs of the workforce, taking into account any changes to normal work practices. It is also worth checking any bodies you are accredited with (CHAS etc), stipulations by your insurers along with any contractual obligations from clients’ to guide your refresher training needs.
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