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Asbestos Awareness Training: A Legal Obligation for Employers

Asbestos regulations place a legal obligation on employers in the UK to ensure that any staff likely to come into contact with the substance during their normal course of work, should receive Asbestos Awareness training.

Also known as Category A training, Asbestos Awareness courses are widely available and can be taken online or face-to-face. On successful completion of the course and passing a test, employees receive a certificate that is usually valid for 12 months.

A duty of care

Protecting the health and safety of staff is paramount when dealing with asbestos, even if there is only a small chance that they will come into contact with it.

Employed plumbers, electricians, joiners, painters, decorators and plasterers are just a few of the categories of worker who might be affected by this requirement.

So if a training need has been established, what’s the next step?

The first thing to do is to find a reliable training provider. This can be achieved using the ‘Find A Member’ directory within the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) website, and filtering the search using a postcode or town.

All training providers featured on the UKATA website have undergone stringent tests to make sure they comply with training regulations, and undergo reviews on a regular basis to ensure that course content is up-to-date.

Legal ramifications

Employers failing to provide Asbestos Awareness training for their staff face heavy fines should an accident occur on-site. The Health and Safety Executive take a dim view of non-compliance with regulations, and the fact that asbestos remains a serious danger to workers in the UK is reason enough to take health and safety responsibilities seriously.

HSE state that 20 tradespeople die each week on average from an asbestos-related disease, with symptoms often showing up decades later.