About the IATP
The IATP (Independent Asbestos Training Providers) is an industry led training body. Asbestos is a serious issue and is best understood by those who work with it in real day-to-day situations. The complex legislation and requirements around working with asbestos also call for a high level of expertise when it comes to assessing and delivering training. As an industry body, the IATP is an excellent source of information on the issues faced by workers, employers and training bodies.
In order to ensure that asbestos training is accessible as possible the IATP offers a range of courses and works with training providers across the UK to deliver three types of training. In addition, IATP approved Asbestos Awareness training is available to enable all workers and managers who are required to deal with asbestos in the workplace have access to high quality information and training courses.
Three areas of asbestos training are available through the IATP and this covers everything from the basics to more in-depth training for those at a senior level in firms that are likely to encounter asbestos on a regular basis.
Nicknamed ‘miracle mineral’ in the mid 90’s Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of six minerals which form on metamorphic rocks (rocks that are altered by extreme pressure and temperature). Amosite which is also named brown asbestos, is one of the most hazardous and easily inhaled, Crocidolite which is blue used in cement, plastic and even in engines. Another is Tremolite which can come in a few different colours and was usually used for fire protection and industrial materials. Anthophyllite and Actinolite are two that were not used in much but can be found in Chrysolite which is the most common of the six, this is known as white asbestos used in construction like in walls, floors roofs for sound proofing, insulation and fire resistance.
Figures show that each week 20 tradespeople die as a result of asbestos related illness. Being exposed to the particles in Asbestos that are released when disturbed can cause mesothelioma. This which affects the thin membranes in the abdomen and chest area which can cause cancer to develop in the ovaries, the lungs and other areas associated with where the fibres are absorbed in the body while breathing it in. The fibres become trapped in the lungs, the accumulation of which leads to tissue inflammation and scaring causing various breathing issues later in life often going unnoticed for decades at which point the damage has been done and is irreversible.
Buildings and sites that were constructed or operated before 2000 may contain asbestos and workers could be exposed to it when renovating or demolishing. Although known during the Roman era, asbestos became widely mined and used in construction from the late 19th century onwards. Having excellent thermal insulation properties and also being fire-proof up to very high temperatures, it was for many years considered an essential building material. However, it is now recognised that it is also the cause of serious health problems and that proper handling of the material is essential to reduce the risks. As buildings and industrial sites age the need to refurbish or demolish them arises and, as many buildings from the 20th century have come to the end of their lifespan, it is likely that those in the construction and related trades will continue to find that asbestos is part of their almost daily working lives.
Despite this danger some countries continue to ignore health warnings and use it anyway, with it being accessible via mining some counties such as Russia and India still procure vast quantities for use in building, commercial and industrial materials. It’s estimated that 6 million tonnes are imported and added to building products each year which means even though it is being removed from old buildings it could still sometimes be in new dwellings and premises. It is thought that over 2 million homes still contain this mineral in some form or another. This means that over 2 million people working in the construction industry and the people working and living in the homes and properties are at risk of being exposed to something they probably don’t even know is there.
Asbestos Approved Training
The training offered by IATP providers falls into the following categories:
This is the base line for all workers and organisations likely to come into contact with asbestos. This training does not qualify individuals to work with asbestos but is designed to raise awareness of what asbestos is, where it is encountered and the strict procedures around reporting and handling. Asbestos Awareness training is essential for workers in a wide range of industries and is particularly relevant to those in the construction, demolition and refurbishment sectors. Allied building trades such as electricians, plumbers and telecoms/IT engineers, to name but a few, are also likely to benefit from an IATP Approved Asbestos course. This list is not comprehensive and many other trades and individuals may need this type of IATP course.
Asbestos Awareness training is broken down into three relevant areas. The general course, Asbestos Awareness is for any/all sectors likely to work in environments where asbestos is present. Additionally, two other sector specific courses are available.
- Asbestos Awareness for Ground Workers
- Asbestos Awareness for Waste And Civic Amenity Site Personnel
Both these groups of workers have a high likelihood of coming into contact with asbestos during their working lives and the targeted training is tailored to the specific needs of these roles.
Non-Licensed Asbestos Working
Whilst the Asbestos Awareness training approved by IATP is a general course aimed at educating workers in the basic information required relating to asbestos, the non-licensed IATP training focuses on workers likely to be exposed to asbestos.
The courses available under this heading are designed to ensure safe working and reporting practices are implemented when exposure to asbestos is likely. As well as workers, this training is essential for managers, supervisors and others in leadership roles and is designed to ensure that legal requirements are adhered to when asbestos exposure is part of the job. Asbestos Non-Licenced courses are, again, divided into three areas which are:
- Asbestos Non-Licenced Operative
- Asbestos Non-Licenced Groundworker
- Asbestos Non-Licenced Waste and Civic Amenity Site Personnel
Licensable Work with Asbestos
- Licensable Work with Asbestos
This level of asbestos training is aimed at training those who are required to work with, or handle asbestos. Employees at any level working Licensed Asbestos removal contractors will need to complete this type of training. Those working where asbestos removal is in progress may also need to ensure that this training is undertaken. This can mean that construction and scaffolding workers may be required to hold this qualification. All workers involved with sites where asbestos removal is in progress will require qualifications that offer the necessary knowledge.
Soils and Made Ground
This type of asbestos training relates to work on brownfield sites, usually former industrial ones but possibly former housing sites. Workers on sites such as this will be required to undertake this training and managers and supervisors should hold the ‘Management of Asbestos in Soils and Made Ground’.
Management Specific Training
This training is designed for managers and supervisors and is aimed at ensuring these individuals are aware of the regulatory framework around working with asbestos. This allows those in management roles to confidently put in place the correct procedures and safety processes and also to ensure that your company’s duty to comply with the law around working with asbestos is met. The relevant courses at this level are:
- 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 Online?
Regulation and legislation around working with asbestos is likely to be the defining factor for employers when considering who should be given access to training. Asbestos is a serious health risk for those working with the substance – and for those exposed to asbestos if it is disturbed or removed. High quality training is essential to avoid employees creating serious risks to both themselves and others. Managers should also have relevant training to ensure that processes and practices are implemented that create the safest possible environment when working with asbestos.
Occupationally there is no comprehensive list of who is likely to come across asbestos during their working life. However, some industries in particular are clearly at risk in this case. Any construction or demolition firm is likely to encounter asbestos at some point and ancillary trades, including shop-fitters, engineers, architects, site managers, drilling or excavation workers, refurbishment workers, civic waste operatives, telecoms and IT workers are amongst the most likely to encounter asbestos in their careers.
Any trade such as this can unwittingly come a cropper to Asbestos with it being so widely used in the past, it can be hidden anywhere so having that training there is vital to keeping you and others safe. The IATP training ideally needs to be refreshed every year to ensure peak awareness.