Approved Asbestos Awareness Training Courses

There are three different groups of asbestos training courses which are grouped under the following headings; Asbestos Awareness, Non-licensable Work with Asbestos and Licensable Work with Asbestos. The different areas reflect the different levels of knowledge for those who may come into contact with asbestos as part of their working life. The courses also cover relevant information for those who supervise or manager workers who require them to work competently when involved with asbestos. 

Asbestos Awareness Course

The Asbestos Awareness course is the basic level of training offered and is not designed for workers specifically working with asbestos. The asbestos awareness course is particularly suited to any worker who may come into contact with asbestos and aims to raise awareness and good safety practices for these individuals. It is suited to a workers and managers in a wide range of industries but the approving body strongly recommend this training for those working in construction and demolition, maintenance and related trades. This asbestos training alone does not provide a qualification that allows workers to work with asbestos but can provide a foundation level of knowledge for these workers.

Basic asbestos awareness courses offered by the approving body members include two other specific courses focussed on trades likely to encounter asbestos:

  • Asbestos Awareness for Ground Workers
  • Asbestos Awareness for Waste and Civic Amenity Site Personnel

The former is relevant to a range of trades and includes groundwork/site engineers, excavation workers, drilling workers and utilities workers amongst others. The latter is specifically designed to focus on workers who are involved in waste disposal and management at civic facilities which receive or may receive asbestos materials.

Non-Licensable Work With Asbestos

This sector of training is, again, split into three areas and complies to the regulations that stipulate that adequate training is provided for employees who are exposed to asbestos and those who manage employees of this nature. The sectors where this is most relevant include most construction and demolition services, including all associated trades and is particularly likely to include workers and trades-persons involved in work on commercial and/or industrial premises, such as shops and factories.

Other professionals that are likely to be exposed to asbestos include engineers, electricians, architects and surveyors.

Specific courses in the non-licensable group are also designed for ground workers and civic amenity personal. Again, the focus in these two areas is to ensure that those working in these areas are trained to standards required by legislation for those exposed to asbestos.

Licensable Work with Asbestos

Approved Asbestos Awareness courses at this level are designed to fully train and educate those who directly work with asbestos. It is aimed at licensed asbestos contractors and trades closely allied to them, including some operators in the scaffolding trade and other areas of construction. Working directly with asbestos is dangerous and legislation requires employees to be fully trained and conversant in relevant procedures.

Whilst licensed removal firms are the most obvious group for this training a large number of firms may be required to fulfil the obligations of the legislation relating to asbestos as ancillary workers on sites where asbestos work is being undertaken. These workers should also be adequately trained to work on this type of site.

Approved Asbestos Awareness courses are also available for management in a wide range of industries where working with asbestos is likely to occur. These courses cover the following topics:

  • Duty to Manage Asbestos
  • Duty to Manage Asbestos for the Housing Sector
  • Duty to Manage Asbestos – Appointed Person
  • RPE Competent Person and Asbestos Project Manager

Who Should Take IATP Training

The approved asbestos training providers offer two courses relevant to those working on brownfield sites with an industrial heritage, who are likely to encounter asbestos materials. ‘Asbestos Awareness in Soils and Made Ground’ encompasses the necessary training and skills required for all workers on this type of site and is required under legislation. ‘Management of Asbestos in Soils and Made Ground’ is the specific branch of training required for all those involved in supervisor and senior roles on this type of site or project.

Who Should Take Asbestos Awareness Training?

Legislation is the most significant driver for those involved in work where asbestos may be encountered. Asbestos is a significant health risk to those working with the material and employers have strict legal duties to ensure the safety of their workers and also the wider public. As with all health and safety issues, each individual is responsible for their own safety and of that of those around them. When work with asbestos is likely, high quality training is essential to ensure that individual employees and managers have the skill set required to identify, manage and mitigate the risks involved.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found on rocks that have been exposed to extreme pressure and heat. Asbestos itself can be one of six different minerals some more dangerous and prevalent than others. It has been widely used in the past and can be encountered in many structures and sites. It’s difficult to identify and when disturbed releases fibres which are inhaled, causing damage to the lungs and in some cases leading to cancer called mesothelioma. It’s been widely used in industrial settings in the past, due to how easy it was to procure and its insulation properties, fire resistance and strength it has been used in many different types of construction, from housing to retail developments. This means that asbestos can be encountered just about anywhere and by many different people, meaning anyone working in construction needs to be aware of it and have trained people to remove such dangers, even know it is though that as many as 20 tradespeople die from resulting exposure and inhalation of the mineral. Its even mined and used in building materials in other places to this day in countries such as India and Russia, meaning that items that are imported are still at risk of containing these materials so even new builds could have a risk of exposure to asbestos.

In an occupational setting there is no fully comprehensive list of who may be likely to encounter asbestos. However, some trades and professions are more at risk of encountering asbestos than others. These include all construction and demolition processes and their ancillary trades. Shop-fitters, electricians, telecoms/IT installers, construction workers, engineers, utilities engineers and operatives, architects, surveyors, plumbers, heating engineers and workers, excavation workers, including drilling workers and manual excavation operatives, Renovation and refurbishment workers and housing officers and maintenance workers. As seen above specific focus is given in Asbestos Awareness course to civic workers who are also likely to come into contact with asbestos, and this can include workers at recycling centres and other waste processing facilities. Having this asbestos awareness training and being aware of the dangers can help save lives from this destructive mineral.

About Approved Asbestos Courses

The approving body is a UK based trade association for the Asbestos training industry that was established in 2007. Prior to this the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the UK government was the main body that held responsibility for not only safety practices within the asbestos industry but was also the body responsible for regulating asbestos training. Whilst holding a list of training providers, the HSE involvement was relatively limited and the need to establish an industry-based group to identify training needs and advance standards within in the industry became apparent. Of 50 training providers listed by the HSE, 41 became the founding members of the approving body.

As a trade association in a highly specialised field, the approving body is ideally placed to understand the complex needs and standards required to work within the industry. Today the organisation sets the standards required for Asbestos training providers and is also responsible for auditing firms providing asbestos training. Prior to the establishment of the approving body there was a sense that training standards in the industry were not as high as they could be and that understanding of the issues facing asbestos training providers, and those working with asbestos, were not being met under the more generalised health and safety in the workplace regulations that were managed by the HSE.

In the years since it was established the approving body has grown in membership and today provides a benchmark for training providers in asbestos awareness training. These approved Asbestos Awareness courses are provided by training providers but are backed up by comprehensive auditing on the part of the organisation. Course will be led by trainers who are assessed in an online exam by the approving body and trainers are also required to have a minimum level of direct experience working in the industry itself. They also hold relevant professional qualifications in working with asbestos. These courses provide verified training materials and trainers who have real, practical experience and hold established qualifications in working with asbestos.

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