The type of training really depends on the involvement you or your team have with managing asbestos and maybe 'awareness', 'refresher' training or more in-depth 'management' training maybe required.

Whatever your requirements are, the training should include real life examples of your asbestos containing materials (ACMs) or your management systems - leading to better overall management across your organisation.

Here are five questions to consider about the asbestos training and management within your buildings.

1. When was the last time you or your team members had asbestos management training?

All the people who are detailed in your asbestos management responsibility tree need to have suitable training to manage the asbestos in your buildings. You need to consider changes in personnel, staff turnover and remote working staff. Most importantly, training is required following changes to your asbestos management process, legislation or industry practice as well as if an incident has occurred. Regular training is also advocated as it will continue to demonstrate a commitment to managing asbestos across your estate.

2. Are you aware of where asbestos is in your buildings?

Everyone who may come into contact with asbestos containing materials in your buildings should be aware of where they are located. This can be achieved with training that includes looking at the register and photographic evidence via the asbestos condition assessments. Clear examples of the types and locations of any asbestos containing materials is the best way of engaging staff about the asbestos in their building. 

3. Would you know where to find your asbestos management system?

Knowing the location of your asbestos management system is the first step. This is vital if you are supplying this information to contractors or even sub-contractors - particularly those not captured by your permit to work system (if asbestos is covered by the permit of course - not all we see are). There is also a requirement to make this information available to the emergency services. Being familiar with the detailed contents of the asbestos management system is the next step and is fundamental to asbestos awareness training.

Each asbestos management system needs to be site specific and should include:

  • An asbestos policy;
  • A responsibility tree with clearly defined responsibilities and emergency contacts;
  • A register including overall risk assessment scores (material assessment and priority assessment scores);
  • An asbestos management plan including frequency of re-inspection, policies and procedures (including emergency procedures);
  • Asbestos training certificates;
  • Reference to your permit to work system;
  • All other records relating to asbestos removal, air testing etc and;
  • A documented review of the asbestos management system.

What does yours contain?

4. Have you found any additional asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in your building?

It is not uncommon that additional ACMs maybe discovered in your building and this maybe for a multitude of reasons. What happened when they were detected? Was the material verified, was it removed, repaired or encapsulated? This information must be included in your asbestos management system and the register updated. This is an ideal time to undertake asbestos refresher training. 

5. Are there any 'no access' areas noted on the survey which are not on your asbestos register?

One of the most common issues found when reviewing asbestos management are caveats in surveys of areas that were not accessed at the time of the survey. These should be added to your register as all areas are required to be presumed to contain asbestos until proven otherwise.

Typical 'no access' areas could include:

  1. Lift shafts and lift motor rooms - Lift engineer required
  2. Electrical boxes - Presume asbestos is present until proven otherwise
  3. Gaskets - Often missed from surveys altogether
  4. Rooms locked - No keys
  5. Safes - often missed as they are not an integral part of the building

The best way of remedying this is to make sure the survey includes up to date floor plans and a room register that includes what the walls, floors and ceiling are made of. If captured early enough, a pre-survey plan can be agreed so all of these areas are cover to make sure a comprehensive management plan can be implemented. This is a great time to trigger asbestos training to make sure that all these areas are covered.

Assurity Consulting are leading experts in workplace health, safety and environmental compliance. As an independent organisation, we can give you completely unbiased advice and support with any of the above areas. For more information on the services we provide, please contact us on tel. +44 (0)1403 269375 or email us.