Believe it or not, asbestos knowledge is still very sparse in the UK today. Not many people would be able to identify the risks or even know the dangers of exposure to this once heavily used construction material.
But there are certain professions where a degree of knowledge is vital. Having this knowledge will help them to not only keep themselves safe, but also any other people who live or work in and around the area.
So please read below for our detailed analysis of who should know what about asbestos!
Who Should Have The Asbestos Training?
Before we delve into the more grittier part of this article, it is important to determine who actually needs the asbestos training.
Asbestos awareness keeps everyone safe and is the best way to ensure that you minimise exposure from any kind of works that may be carried out on the property.
If you are an employer, you must ensure that anyone who may come into contact or disturb asbestos during their normal work, has the correct level of information, training and instruction so they can safely work without putting themselves or others at risk of asbestos exposure.
The information that they are given is intended to provide employees with the information they need to mitigate the risk of asbestos exposure. It does not train them in the handling of the material or removal of it. So please bear this in mind!
There are a number of very popular professions that must have asbestos training. The following list of professions are at a significantly higher risk of coming into contact with asbestos, due to the nature of their job.
- Gas Fitters and Heating Engineers
- More can be found at the HSE website here
What Asbestos Training Should They Have?
There are varying degrees of knowledge that you will need in your asbestos training, and this will differ depending upon the role that you have. The idea of most of the training however is to ensure that the employee can recognise asbestos containing materials (ACM) and know what they need to do once they have been identified. There are therefore 3 levels of training that can be provided. These are:
- Asbestos Awareness Training
- Non-licensable work with asbestos
- Licensed work with asbestos
In this post we will only touch upon the first level of training, which is asbestos awareness. The other two are more comprehensive and permit individuals who will be directly handling the material.
The vast majority of the time, people undertaking the awareness training for asbestos will only need to know the bare bones to ensure that they can work safely and do not disturb any ACMs.
What Will Be Covered?
The main two pillars of information that will be covered in asbestos training centres around information and instruction. Below is a basic breakdown of the knowledge you can expect to learn.
1 – Risks Of Asbestos
As you have probably gleaned from this article already, there are many risks that are associated with working closely with ACMs. A lot of these are long term conditions that can be fatal.
It is vital that you know the risks associated with asbestos work. That way employees will realise the importance of their training, in safeguarding not just their health, but often that of their clients also. The main risks of asbestos centre around lung conditions. For this reason employees may want to take actions themselves to minimise potential risk (such as quitting smoking).
Therefore, a training course will go over a variety of conditions, their symptoms and even how the asbestos causes them.
2 – The Different Types Of Asbestos
There are more than one type of asbestos. There are actually six main types, each of which were used in different construction requirements. A good training course will break these down so that your employees have a greater understanding of their uses and the likelihood of their occurrence in the property.
Often knowing your enemy is the best way to overcome it. As corny as that saying is, it reigns true with asbestos. Knowing the different types, their different structures and where they can be found will help you understand and better plan the way you work.
Instead of blindly working with potential ACMs, this will help you to evaluate and consider the risks to asbestos exposure that may be present.
3 – What To Do If Asbestos Becomes Exposed
Just like knowing where the fire exits are in your workplace, if you work closely with potential ACMs you must know how to deal with any accidental exposures to asbestos fibres. Whether this already occurred before you carried out the work, or it was a consequence of the work you carried out.
Dealing with this in the right way is a vital part of asbestos awareness.
The training will have already covered the risks associated with exposure to asbestos, so you will know how key quick and preventative action will be. Emergencies that can occur include exposure to asbestos dust. In these scenarios you cannot ignore the risks, and must act.
A good through training course will provide you with the knowledge and tools to deal with these situations in the safest way possible.
4 – Mitigating Risk Of Exposure
Prevention is always just as good as the cure. The asbestos training will provide you with the knowledge to keep you safe.
It will outline equipment that should always be to hand (such as your PPE kit that is needed on any potential job that has a risk of contact with an ACM) along with tips that you can keep in mind when going through your day to day work.
This part of the training will ultimately keep you safe in the long run. The professions that are at greater risk of exposure are often careers that last upwards of 30 – 40 years. Keeping yourself safe is vital, and a good training course will outline the ways that you can minimise your personal risk of exposure to asbestos.
Hopefully this post has outlined how integral it is to ensure that yourself and employees are up to date with their asbestos training.
Whether this training is an internal company sanctioned training course, or an online course that a sole trader pays for themselves. Training in asbestos awareness helps you work safe for the short and long term.
For any asbestos removal needs be sure to contact a professional such as Smart Asbestos Solutions!