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Asbestos Awareness: Employer Responsibilities When It Comes To Training – Asbestos

Asbestos exposure can cause serious diseases, when asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed, they release fibres in the air, which, when inhaled, can cause fatal and serious illness and disease.  Asbestos is not just a thing of the past, it is still responsible for killing over 5000 workers per year,

Asbestos-containing materials can be found in any building that was constructed before the year 2000, as it was finally banned in 1999, that’s why so many tradespeople are affected by asbestos because they work in buildings where asbestos is present. That’s why it’s vital workers have the correct training on the dangers of asbestos, where they are likely to find it, how to avoid the risk of exposure and what to do in an emergency if exposed to asbestos fibres.

Asbestos will not affect you immediately, diseases often take a long time to develop Symptoms of asbestos illness can appear anywhere between 10-60 years after exposure, and the consequences are severe.

Unfortunately, due to a previous lack of knowledge of the dangers of asbestos, many workers have been continuously exposed to it in their workplace, and many have developed fatal diseases. That is why it is essential to provide the proper training for staff who may into contact with asbestos at work.


Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos awareness training is essential for anybody who may come into contact with or disturb asbestos as part of their work. An employer must legally provide asbestos training to all their staff that work in buildings where asbestos may be present.

The 3 Main types of asbestos that were most commonly used

1. Chrysotile

– commonly known as white asbestos

2. Crocidolite

– commonly known as blue asbestos

3. Amosite

– commonly known as brown asbestos


Who Is Most At Risk?

Those who are in refurbishment, construction and maintenance works are considered at the highest risk of asbestos exposure.

Their work potentially requires them to routinely disturb or completely remove asbestos from a building structure. These employees must be given adequate training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to protect their own health while at work and with others around them.

Here is a list of trades that are at risk from asbestos;

  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Demolition workers
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Plumbers
  • Roofing contractors
  • Painters and decorators
  • Plasterers
  • Construction workers
  • Fire and burglar alarm installers
  • Shopfitters
  • Gas fitters
  • Computer and data installers
  • General maintenance staff eg caretakers
  • Telecommunications engineers
  • Architects, building surveyors, and other such professionals
  • Cable layers
  • Electricians


Why Asbestos Is So Dangerous To Workers

Employees who come into contact with asbestos regularly increase their risk of developing health complications unless the correct procedures are followed to ensure their safety and avoid airborne fibres. Disturbing asbestos releases fibres from the material. If these fibres are inhaled, they can become lodged in a person’s lung tissue. A single exposure to asbestos is hazardous, but prolonged exposure is potentially deadly. The asbestos fibres can tear and damage lung tissue. This damage can develop into severe health conditions such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. The HSE estimates that up to 20 people die weekly because of asbestos-related health conditions.


Why Training Is So Important For Safety

Just because asbestos is banned does not mean it is no longer a risk. Any building built before 2000 is likely to contain asbestos-based materials in its structures, including loose asbestos in ceilings, spray coatings, insulating board, roofing felt, cement roofs, floor tiles, textured coating and more.

It is a legal requirement to provide information, instruction and training for all employees that work where asbestos may be present. Following Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, “every employer must ensure that any employee is given adequate information, instruction and training” in asbestos safety. If an accident or illness occurs in your workplace due to a lack of training, you will be subject to heavy fines and can be sued by employees or even face imprisonment.


Your Responsibilities As An Employer

As an employer, your staff must receive the appropriate training for their job role. Here are the main types of asbestos training.

Asbestos awareness training;

Candidates should be made aware of the properties of asbestos, where it has been used in buildings and when it may present a risk to the This will help candidates to protect themselves and others from the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres and show the delegates how to comply with the health and safety rules of the asbestos legislation. An asbestos awareness course is for those who encounter asbestos-containing materials during work activities or work in buildings where asbestos is present.


Duty To Manage Asbestos Training;

This duty to manage asbestos course is for people responsible for repairing and maintaining non-domestic premises or access to them. This can include employers, self-employed people and building owners. 

This training provides the delegate with an understanding of the requirements of Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos 2012 with particular reference to the Duty Holder & the Duty to Manage Asbestos, as well as guidance to Asbestos Surveys Risk Assessments, Asbestos Registers and Management plans.


Non-licensed work with asbestos (NNLW)

This training is necessary for workers who knowingly work with Non-Licensed asbestos-containing materials in their workplace. Working with asbestos, even very rarely, can pose a risk to the health of tradespeople. Training for non-licensed work should cover What to do if you discover or accidentally disturb asbestos during your work, PPE & RPE, safe handling technics, decontamination, cleaning up asbestos debris, and much more. This may be for maintenance staff, engineers, or those with requirements to remove non-licensed materials, usually low-risk work.


Licensed work with asbestos training

This level of asbestos training is required for Licensed contractors. This course is suitable for all persons about to begin work within the asbestos removal industry.

Most work with higher-risk asbestos-containing materials must be carried out by licensed contractors. Only competent workers and managers, provided with suitable information instruction and training and using appropriate respiratory and other protective equipment, may undertake licensed asbestos work.


Choosing the Right Asbestos Trainer

It is crucial to ensure that your asbestos training is carried out thoroughly and refreshed at regular intervals. Your employees’ health is at risk whenever they come into contact with or work around asbestos. Your asbestos awareness online course should be accredited and provide workers with certification when they pass the course. 

NATAS provides a range of online and in-person asbestos training courses that will provide your employees with all the information they need to work with asbestos. Our online asbestos awareness course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and can be taken at your convenience. Those taking the course must obtain a pass mark of 80% or more to understand the training thoroughly. Once completed, they will receive their NATAS Asbestos Awareness Certificate instantly.

Have more questions? Need more info on the courses or the sectors we work with?

Check out our NATAS Information Centre where your questions will be answered. We also provide lots of additional helpful information and news articles.

In-House Training Get a quote now!

NATAS provide a full portfolio of Asbestos Training and qualification courses in the UK and Internationally, as well as bespoke training solutions to meet your organisation’s requirements. If you would like a quote for your required in-house training or would like more information call the team now on 0121 285 0795 or make an enquiry below!

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