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5 Common Questions Asked About Asbestos

5 Common Questions Asked About Asbestos

Posted on Wednesday 3rd August 2016 by Graham

Do I need a certificate as proof that I have had asbestos training?

While there is no actual legal requirement to hold a certificate as proof of training, many training providers, including ourselves, issue a certificate on completion of the training course. The majority of our courses are UKATA approved and upon completion candidates will receive a UKATA certificate.

Many building sites will not let you on site unless you have a current UKATA approved training certificate.

Do I need a risk assessment before I carry out any work with asbestos?

Yes, before any work can be carried out a risk assessment must be completed.

What is the 'Duty to Manage' Asbestos and who has it?

The Duty to Manage Asbestos is an actual legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (Regulation 4).

It applies to all owners and occupiers of non-domestic premises, including premises such as retail shops, offices, common parts of flats and any industrial units. It applies to those who are responsible for the maintenance and repair on these types of properties.

They have a duty to assess the presence and condition of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and if asbestos is found to be present then it must be managed accordingly. The duty also applies to the shared parts of some domestic premises.

Is asbestos training a legal requirement?

Current Regulations place a legal duty and responsibility on employers to provide information, instruction and training to all employees who are likely to be exposed to asbestos as part of their job.

The 3 main types of information, instruction and training are:

What are the risks involved if I am working with asbestos?

Just because asbestos is present does not necessarily meant it is a risk or even a cause for concern. Asbestos only becomes a risk to your health when it is damaged or in a poor state of repair and asbestos fibres are then released into the air as a result. There is a danger that these fibres could be inhaled and this can pose a risk to your health.

Those responsible for maintaining or repairing commercial premises are required to actively manage any asbestos present in these buildings. When managed correctly this allows a practical method to identify, prioritise and plan any actions needed to be carried out to manage the risks associated with asbestos.

Where asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are assessed and recorded as being in a suitable condition and not likely to be damaged they should be left in place and monitored carefully and regularly.

On the other hand, where asbestos is in a poor condition and is likely to be damaged during the normal use of the building, it should be sealed immediately, enclosed or disposed of in a safe and correct manner.

Those who are considered most at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres are tradesmen and women, including maintenance workers who are likely to disturb the fabric of buildings during the course of their day-to-day work. Therefore, suitable precautions must be carried out to ensure that you do not put yourself or others at risk by disturbing asbestos.


  • On 15th September 2016 11:04 a.m.
    Chris Gilliead said:
    This is an interesting article, however, once again we are seeing misconceptions with industry standards. As a Director at the IATP (Independent Asbestos Training Providers), I would like to set the record straight for the avoidance of doubt to your readers. Your point that ‘Many building sites will not let you on site unless you have a current UKATA approved training certificate’ is misleading at best, as many sites are happy to accept audited training from any trainer as confirmed by HSE. Surely this is the standard we all should be promoting for the benefit of all. The HSE clearly states on their website that ‘Every employer must make sure that anyone who is liable to disturb asbestos during their normal work, or who supervises those employees, gets the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others’. The HSE list some of the training associations whose members provide training for working with asbestos (IATP, ACAD, ARCA, BOHS, as well as UKATA) and state that there are many other organisations that offer asbestos training. The HSE also does not endorse or promote any asbestos training body over another. Anyone seeking asbestos training can do their due diligence and choose a competent and reputable organisation for themselves. It is also worth mentioning that the IATP training providers offer training that has been audited to the same standards as UKATA, but we are the ONLY association that independently audits our members. Chris Gilliead – Director – IATP
    Graham's Reply:
    Thanks you for your reply. The paragraph that you refer to in your reply states "Many building sites will not let you on site unless you have a current UKATA approved training certificate" which is not a misconception, as we have numerous delegates call us on a daily basis asking for UKATA as they cannot get on site with IATP or any other TP. There are also many large Principal Contractors, who also demand UKATA and won't accept any other training. Unfortunately, this is the PC and client’s prerogative, I can't say that we whole heartedly agree with this stance but the client and PC can demand what they wish. You statement that "but we are the ONLY association that independently audits our members", can you clarify that IATP undertake the audits or does your member arrange their own audit, pay for their own audit, and then submit this with their application?
  • On 19th September 2016 12:39 p.m.
    Chris Gilliead said:
    Hi Graham, I think you may have misunderstood my intent. I was trying to suggest that surely the best advice would be to put out the true message that is stated by HSE rather than what seemed to be a commercially driven message that amounts to scaremongering. I am in absolute agreement that some organisations will only accept UKATA certificates and yes that is their prerogative but unless we educate all within our industry and beyond as to the true picture then we only aim to let it fail. IATP and UKATA work collaboratively to improve our shared industry and neither of us discriminate against each other or indeed other independent organisations who may carry out similar roles. To be seen to try and get one over on each other would not be conducive with the good working relationship we have. I can confirm that yes, the auditors who carry out audits for both existing and applicant members of IATP are completely independent of the organisation. Each of the auditors has been checked and assessed to ensure that they are independent, impartial and also do not deliver asbestos training themselves. In addition to this we ask auditors to subscribe to our own and the industry requirements when it comes to asbestos training. The applicant training companies enter into a contract directly with the auditors and then this audit is submitted once completed. The audit doesn’t necessarily need to be sent in with the application but the applicant will not progress to an IATP member until the audit has been confirm by another auditor (independent of IATP) that it is acceptable. Regards, Chris

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