Asbestos related diseases account for over 5000 deaths per year* in the UK. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause a specific cancer, called Mesothelioma but also other lung cancers, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
Although the use of asbestos was banned in 1999, many buildings still contain different forms of the mineral. Asbestos Awareness Training is designed to educate workers of the health risks associated with inhaling fibres and give enough knowledge to be able to visually identify potential Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s).
Asbestos Removal is not Required by Law, Asbestos Awareness Training is
If a building has asbestos containing materials in it, the owner of the building does not have to undertake a large asbestos removal operation. It’s a great solution with a licenced contractor coming in and eliminating potential asbestos exposure for users of the building and those set to work maintaining in. However, the current legal requirement is to control the exposure to the asbestos. It is perfectly acceptable to encapsulate the asbestos and hold a register detailing its location. Condition checks will need to be made periodically to ensure the asbestos has not deteriorated into a condition that poses a greater hazard.
Asbestos Registers and is Key to Asbestos Risk Control
At tender stage, an asbestos register must be requested if the fabric of the building is to be broken. Changing a boilers is a great example of this as many pipes and units are mounted on asbestos containing boards. If an asbestos register is not available, then works cannot safely commence and you would be putting your workers at risk if you were to undertake the work.
Asbestos Awareness Training is Mandatory
Training your employees is a requirement of both the Health and Safety at Work Act and the regulations made under it. The refresher periods for training varies, with some being up to five years. In the case of Asbestos Awareness, it is recommended that the course is completed annually. This is to reinforce the safe working principles and keep the “look” of asbestos fresh in the minds of operatives.
For businesses applying for accreditations such as SMAS, CHAS or Constructionline, Asbestos Awareness Certificates will be required for those set to work in buildings constructed before the year 2000. It is also a question asked on PQQ questionnaires.
Limitations of Online Asbestos Awareness Training Courses
The course is not designed to educate every student to the level of an Asbestos Surveyor, that is a completely different course. Is it designed to give enough knowledge to make tradespeople stop and think about the material they are breaking into. They will have seen examples of not only the various types of asbestos but also what it looks like in the fabric of the building. For example, pipe lagging, facia and soffit boards and spray coatings.
The accreditation a course holds is vital as these are deemed acceptable by the Health and Safety Executive. Bodies such as UKATA, RoSPA, IOSH and IATP.
Asbestos Enforcement by the Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive secured 19 convictions in 2018/19 for asbestos related health and safety breaches. Three of these convictions resulted in suspended sentences and 12 resulted in fines. When undertaking due diligence for our clients, we check the Health and Safety Executive Enforcement Database for enforcement action against the subcontractors that are applying. We have seen several notices issued for breaches of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations recently, the majority for failing to have their employees Asbestos Awareness trained.
How to Comply with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2012
There is a free download of the Managing and Working with Asbestos Approved Code of Practice L143 available from the HSE’s website.
Online Asbestos Awareness Training is an online course we provide at a cost of £35+vat. However, our clients and newsletter subscribers are eligible for discounted rate. You can sign up for our weekly newsletter here. Dependent on the level of service purchased, some subscribers can opt for free Asbestos Awareness Training
*Source: HSE Asbestos related disease statistics in Great Britain, 2020.
Grace period for SMSTS Training is Drawing Close
The CITB extended the validity of expiring certificates during the Covid-19 pandemic. The grace period has nearly ended though, so check the full details here.