22nd May, 2019 Read time 3 minutes

Training needed to work in an Asbestos exposed environment

As part of regulations to minimise the impact of Asbestos, there are certain qualifications and levels of training that are required when working in an Asbestos exposed environment.

The dangers of working with asbestos have been known for a long time and there are a number of diseases that can develop from asbestosis including lung cancer. Current health and safety legislation indicates that there are three main levels of information, instruction and training that need to be followed if you are working in an area where it could be disturbed.


Required training for working around asbestos

Level 1: Awareness

Asbestos awareness is the minimum level of clearance needed to work with the substance. This training intends to give an overall understanding of asbestos and its effects on health. It is essential for construction workers who may be operating within close proximity of asbestos as it covers techniques on how to not disturb the dangerous material.

Lines of work that could benefit from asbestos awareness training include:

  • Construction workers
  • Gasfitters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians


Level 2: Non-licensable work, including notifiable non-licensed work

The second level of clearance is for those who are going to be taking on work that actively involves working with Asbestos-containing materials. This training is required wherever disturbing the material is required or likely to occur.

Scenarios where this level of training will be needed include:

  • Drilling into asbestos-containing materials
  • Removing Asbestos-containing insulation


The training for this level should cover all in the asbestos awareness courses including waste handling and any emergency procedures. All the control measures in place for ensuring the safety of those working with the material must be properly explained. The use of protective equipment within the role must also be covered.

In addition to the training, workers with this level of training should be notified of other health and safety-related documents and procedures. A complete risk assessment must be made available as well as a comprehensive plan of the work to be completed. Records of air monitoring results must also be included.

In addition to the employees should be given access to:

  • Records of control measures
  • Their personal information from health records
  • Results of any face-fit test for RPE work provided for work with asbestos
  • A copy of the individuals training record


Level 3: Licensable work with Asbestos

Whilst the previous clearance may seem pretty comprehensive there is a final level concerned with more high-risk exposure to Asbestos. This work must be carried out by licensed contractors.

In addition to the requirements for non-licensable work, those working on high-risk projects must have:

  • Information on notification of work made to the enforcing authority
  • A copy of the relevant license
  • Anonymised collective information from their health records


Training and refresher course

There is no legal requirement for refresher courses to be completed every 12 months as instruction and training on asbestos awareness is merely intended to help workers avoid carrying out work that will disturb asbestos. However, it is advisable to secure one and operate a refresher course yearly to ensure all relevant parties are kept up to date with the risks.


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