Anyone who has a good grasp of asbestos and experience in that area can deliver asbestos awareness training.
The legislation doesn’t say that only trained professionals can conduct training. Instead, any ‘competent’ person can. This means if you are confident in your ability to spot the signs and teach others to do the same, then go right ahead. Awareness training should “help employees avoid carrying out work that will disturb asbestos”. If you feel you can do that, then you may conduct your own training.
However, in certain cases, it may be beneficial to hire an external professional. If you lack the experience or knowledge, then its better to be safe than sorry, and you should hire someone external.
There are three classes of asbestos training, which are categories A, B and C. The ‘competent person’ rule applies to all three levels, but we are most interested in level A. If you are interested in physically handling or disposing of asbestos, then a level A course isn’t for you.
However, awareness training doesn’t necessarily have to be face-to-face. There are many eLearning courses out there today, which are much more convenient. This is because they are cheap, high-quality, and usually only last a matter of hours. We recommend doing a mix of online and in-person learning. Online courses have many uses, as your organisation could conduct in-person awareness training, then provide online courses to further your learning. In addition, you could provide an eLearning training course to refresh your original in-house session.
Refreshing your Training
Whether you choose an online or on the ground course, it is important to refresh your mind with the most up to date practices. The most up to date UK rules are the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2012, but this could change when safer methods are put in place.
This means that if you choose any of the asbestos courses, you will need to update your training on an annual basis.
However, it shouldn’t just be a simple memory exercise that tests things you already know. Whoever can deliver the asbestos awareness training refresh should update, apply and build-on your knowledge. If there have been any changes to the rules, then they must be included as part of the training session. If not, then you need to keep it fresh. People won’t be very enthusiastic about being taught things that they already know about.
You should however reinforce the key parts of the awareness course, including:
- Identifying asbestos containing materials (ACMs)
- Avoiding unsettling and disturbing the substance
- Knowing what to do if you accidentally find asbestos
- The health dangers
But, you should do so in an interesting and new way. Afterall, “competence is developed over time by implementing and consolidating skills learned during training”. Training is a hugely important part of making all organisations safe. If you fail to effectively engage employees, they may miss-out on vital information.
The Importance of Training
Accidents do, and most importantly will, happen. Its just that some organisations are more prepared than others.
Well-trained employees are able to stay calm in the face of danger and act according to their training. This makes themselves and others around them feel safe.
Not only is training a legal requirement, it fosters an environment of safety at work. Employees only want to focus on their work, and they don’t want to be worrying about health and safety issues. As a result, training should focus on accident prevention, not reaction.
To put your workforce at ease, you can view our very own eLearning asbestos awareness course. It is RoSPA and CPD certified and will help prevent asbestos-related accidents.