Training for asbestos removal

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Do I need training for asbestos removal work?

Are you working in a job where you’re wondering if you require training for carrying out asbestos removal work?

Certain jobs within construction and the related trades will mean workers having to come into contact with asbestos at one time or another as part of their work.

In these circumstances where you are likely to come into contact with and’or disturb asbestos on a regular basis, it is highly advisable that you attend an asbestos awareness training course, either classroom based or an e-learning asbestos awareness course as a minimum.

But more specialist jobs involving the removal of certain more dangerous types of asbestos will require more in-depth training.

It’s important to note though that just attending a training course isn’t enough on it’s own and doesn’t make a person competent to work with asbestos materials.

On the job information, training and instruction should also be provided by the person’s employer over time so that they possess the correct skill set and knowledge.

Removal of asbestos will either be classed as ‘Licensed’ or ‘Non-Licensed’ and each type of work requires different training.

Asbestos removal operatives removing asbestos cement roof sheets
Asbestos removal operatives removing asbestos cement roof sheets

Non Licensed/Cat B asbestos training

In addition to having basic asbestos awareness training, some workers who regularly carry out work with non licensed asbestos materials (including notifiable non licensed) will need to undertake additional training in the form of Non licensed or Cat B asbestos training.

They will also require extra information and instruction to be able to carry out the work safely, protecting both themselves and others from asbestos exposure.

Non licensed work with asbestos is determined as removal work that is short in duration with non friable asbestos materials in good condition, that isn’t being broken up and so won’t release many fibers.

It also applies to asbestos materials in good condition that are being encapsulated or sealed to prevent any future damage.

Examples of non licensed asbestos work will include small maintenance and removal tasks that involve asbestos cement (eg asbestos garage roof), textured decorative coatings, asbestos insulating board (AIB) and other materials like old vinyl floor tiles, pipes, gaskets, plastic coatings and bitumen.

Notifiable non licensed work

When it comes to some types of non licensed asbestos removal work, employers will need to meet additional requirements and have a responsibility to notify the local authority – this is classed as ‘notifiable non-licensed work’.

So how do you assess whether the removal work to be carried out is to be notified?

You will have to carry out a risk assessment that determines the type of work to be carried out, the type of asbestos and what condition it’s in.

For example, you will need to take into consideration how friable the asbestos is ie how easily it crumbles when touched.

Any asbestos material that crumbles more easily will release more fibers into the atmosphere, so is considered to be more dangerous.

A good example of this is old asbestos pipe insulation, so working with this material would be classed as ‘notifiable non licensed’, whereas asbestos cement would be just classed as ‘non licensed work’ in most situations and not need to be notified.

Other examples of notifiable non licensed work with asbestos could include removal of any damaged asbestos cement products such as roof sheeting, asbestos insulation and AIB products and large scale removal of textured decorative coatings using a steamer.

Notification to your local authority needs to be made before any work commences and can only be done online via a special notification form.

Licensed asbestos removal training

Only licensed contractors who have had specialist training can carry out removal work for high risk asbestos materials.

In addition to having the correct training, Licensed asbestos removal workers must also be able to demonstrate that they are competent to carry out such work, have received the correct information and instruction and are using the appropriate respiratory and other protective equipment.

Here at Armco asbestos training, we deliver a classroom based refresher course especially for removal operatives who have undergone full training for Licensed asbestos removal within the last 12 months.

Training for asbestos removal operatives
Armco Asbestos Training provide a refresher training course for asbestos removal operatives

More information has to be made available to Licensed asbestos removal operatives by their employers in relation to the specific job they are about to work on.

For example, before any work actually commences, the asbestos removal operatives will need to see a copy of the full risk assessment, a plan of work, any air monitoring results and will also need to see full details of the notification of work tat has been made to the local authority.

Additionally, asbestos removal operatives may need to see or be made aware of any maintenance records that are available for the building or area they are to work in, the licence for asbestos removal, their own personal health records and the results of the face fit test they have had done for the RPE they are to wear for the job.

Refresher training for asbestos removal

It’s important that any workers carrying out either licensed or non licensed work with asbestos have refresher training every 12 months or more often if required.

Refresher training for asbestos removal work can be classroom based or in the form of an e-learning course depending on the individual’s needs.

For example, those workers newer to the job will have more extensive training needs and will need more practical and classroom based training, whereas more experienced workers will just need a quick refresher and be fine doing an e-learning course to keep their knowledge up to date.

As well as formal training, employers must keep their workers informed with the most up to date guidelines and information.

They must also ensure that correct safety instructions are followed at all times, particularly when it comes to decontamination procedures, how to wear and use their PPE and RPE, together with proper instruction on safe asbestos removal procedures.

It is the employers ongoing responsibility to keep training records for each employee and to identify any gaps in their skills, knowledge or training.

As a result, it may be necessary for employees to have training on a more frequent basis if they are showing gaps in their competency, or if the type of work they carry out or equipment they use changes significantly.

Training records are also important for if and when employees may change jobs and go to work for another company as they can take these records with them to their new employer.

Remember that just because you have undergone formal training and hold a certificate, this alone does not make you competent to do the job of asbestos removal.

Training courses for workers

If you’re looking for an experienced and reputable asbestos training company to help train your workers, then Armco Asbestos Training are here to help.

You can choose from our classroom based asbestos training, with the following courses to choose from:-

We also have an e-learning asbestos awareness refresher course for those who have done a full classroom based training course recently:-

Asbestos training courses take place on the last Friday of every month at our training facility at our head office in Bury, Greater Manchester, where we can accommodate up to 12 delegates on any one course.

Need us to travel to you? This can be arranged under certain circumstances for companies that have the facilities and meet the required number of delegates. Get in touch to find out more.


Did you find this article interesting?  Then check out our other interesting articles below.

For all your asbestos training needs call us on 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/asbestos-training-courses/ to book an asbestos training course.

Need an asbestos management survey or a refurbishment/demolition survey? Then contact us on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting our sister site https://www.armco.org.uk/

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Published Jun 10, 2020
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