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Asbestos Training: What Are An Employer’s Responsibilities?

When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, they release fibres into the air. If inhaled, these fibres can lead to severe and even fatal illnesses. Although banned in 1999, asbestos is far from a thing of the past. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more than 5000 people die annually from asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis.

Before the 1999 ban, asbestos was commonly used. Therefore it is often present in homes built before the ban. Loose asbestos can usually be found in ceilings, insulating boards, roofing felt, cement roofs, floor tiles, spray coatings, textured coating and more. This puts tradespeople, construction workers and others who work in these buildings at risk of asbestos exposure. It is, therefore, essential that workers receive the necessary asbestos training. As an employer, you must understand the types of asbestos training available. And you are legally required to provide asbestos training to all their staff that work in buildings where asbestos may be present.

What Are The Dangers Of Asbestos?

Regular contact with asbestos increases the risk of developing serious health conditions. Fibres are released and made airborne when asbestos is disturbed. These fibres can become lodged in lung tissue if inhaled. A single instance of this is hazardous, however, the risks increase with prolonged or repeated exposure. The asbestos fibres can tear and damage lung tissue. This can lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

Who Is At Risk From Asbestos?

People working in construction, maintenance and refurbishment are at the highest risk of exposure to asbestos. Work in these sectors often requires disturbing or even removing asbestos. Those working in these fields must be appropriately trained to protect their health and the health of those around them.

Employer’s Asbestos Training Responsibilities

Employers must ensure employees receive the appropriate asbestos training for their job role. Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 made it a legal requirement that employees are given the necessary information, instruction and training in asbestos safety. If a lack of training results in an accident or illness, you could be fined and sued by an employee.

Types Of Asbestos Training:

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos awareness training is fundamental training covering the properties of asbestos, where it has been used, and the risks it presents. Candidates will learn to protect themselves and others from airborne asbestos fibres. They will also be taught the relevant health and safety rules and legislation. It is designed for people who encounter asbestos through work activities or work in buildings where it is present.

Duty To Manage Asbestos Training

Duty to manage asbestos training is for people responsible for repairing and maintaining non-domestic premises. It is also designed for people responsible for access to these premises. The training focuses on Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos 2012 and its requirements. It pays particular attention to the Duty Holder & the Duty to Manage asbestos. Duty to manage asbestos training also offers guidance on Asbestos Surveys Risk Assessments, Asbestos Registers and Management plans.

Non-Licensed Work With Asbestos (NNLW)

Non-licenced asbestos training is required for people knowingly working with non-licensed asbestos-containing materials in their workplace. This training will cover what to do if you accidentally discover or disturb asbestos. It will look at PPE, safe handling techniques, cleaning up asbestos debris and decontamination. This kind of training may be required by maintenance staff, for example.

Licensed Work With Asbestos Training

Licensed contractors require licensed work with asbestos training. It is designed for people entering the asbestos removal industry. Most high-risk work with asbestos-containing materials can only be carried out by licensed contractors. Licensed asbestos work must only be carried out by competent workers and managers with suitable information, instruction and training. They must also use the appropriate respiratory and protective equipment.