UKATA Training Explained

UKATA (UK Asbestos Training Association) was set up to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos in the workplace and has developed a number of different courses over the years to suit all kinds of people who might, in their day to day work, encounter asbestos. Although asbestos has been banned from any new construction projects since 1999, it is still found in older buildings during renovation or demolition. In the majority of cases, the building is known to contain asbestos and so a specialist company is called in from the outset, to remove and safely dispose of the material. It does sometimes happen, though, that asbestos is discovered which was not expected and it is these occurrences which can pose the bigger risk, if the workforce are not properly trained.

Fulfilling the legal requirements

It is a legal requirement that any employee who works in any sector which may bring him or her into contact with asbestos containing materials is given correct asbestos awareness training. Some employers mistakenly think that if they do not work ‘with’ asbestos, this is not necessary but this is far from the case. Anyone who works in renovation or demolition runs a risk of coming into contact with asbestos and so they must be trained in recognising the various materials which may contain the deadly asbestos fibres, how to measure their presence and deal with small removals. The only exception to this rule is if a contractor can definitely prove that there is no risk of coming across ACMs – it is best to get everyone trained, because asbestos is deadly and there is no putting the clock back if there is accidental inhalation. A cost effective and flexible way is to consider online asbestos awareness training.

More specialist training is sometimes needed

Over and above the type of work which may rarely encounter asbestos containing materials is that which is almost certain to encounter them, but in relatively low amounts. As there is no legal safe minimum (this is accepted by all authorities to be essentially zero and no higher) extra training is essential for all staff who may be engaged in this kind of work, as well as their supervisors and managers. This training covers appropriate clothing and decontamination procedures as well as the essentials of recognising ACMs and dealing with their removal and disposal. UKATA stress the need for stringent training as well as risk assessment skills and a background in the reasons why asbestos is so deadly – even a few fibres can lodge in the lung and kill, often decades later, so there should be no half measures.

Licensed removals

Less commonly, a business may be engaged in the licensed removal of asbestos and here the UKATA training is even more stringent. It will deal with the safe disposal of asbestos, as well as its recognition and removal – the ultimate site of disposal of asbestos must be safe from access by members of the public and is covered by very strict rules. This training must be undergone and – more importantly – passed at a high level of understanding, by operatives, supervisors and managers of any licensed asbestos removal company.