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Written on 24th October 2016 by Laura Magson

All employers have a duty to make sure that any employees who may come across asbestos in their day-to-day work have been provided with asbestos awareness training. 

If they are intentionally required to work on asbestos then specific training is required in relation to those tasks. The difficulty for a smaller employer is that employees may end up working with asbestos unintentionally.

Any building which was built or refurbished before the year 2000 may contain asbestos within the fabric of the building. Asbestos was widely used by the construction industry. Examples include asbestos floor tiles, asbestos ceiling tiles, asbestos insulation boards and asbestos lagging. Any employee whose work could foreseeably disturb the fabric of the building and therefore expose them or others to asbestos, or those who supervise or influence the work, should be given asbestos awareness training. This is a legal duty as well as a sensible approach in order to minimise any exposure to asbestos. The relevant training may seem daunting. However, there are a large number of training providers out there.

This year, UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA)  have run their Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe campaign for the second year.  It is now established as an annual event running between 1 September and 31 October each year.  UKATA is a membership organisation for training providers. In 2015 UKATA members pledged in excess of 3,500 of free asbestos awareness training. This has been backed again in 2016. UKATA are targeting individual trades people and DIY enthusiasts through their campaign in order to try and make training for individuals and small employers more accessible.

More information is available on the UKATA website.

Remember, even your own home may contain asbestos. Think carefully and do your research before you undertake DIY where there may be a risk of asbestos being present.