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Refresher Training for Licensed Asbestos Contractors During the Current Public Health (COVID-19) Outbreak

Friday 27th March 2020

During the current public health concerns, asbestos training providers have stopped providing face-to-face training. Licensed asbestos removal contractors have asked if operatives and supervisors with training certificates that have “expired” can continue to work on sites. While there is no legal requirement for employees to be issued with certificates of training, many trainers do issue dated certificates to provide a formal record of training.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 12) requires those entering respirator zones to be competent (Reg 18(4)) and that anyone who may be exposed to asbestos to be given adequate information, instruction and training at regular intervals (Reg 10).

The requirement for refresher training should be based on an assessment of training needs. The Approved Code of Practice and guidance for CAR 12, Managing and working with asbestos (https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l143.htm) states:

266 Refresher training for licensable and non-licensable work should be given every year, or more frequently if:

  • work methods change;
  • the type of equipment used to control exposure changes;
  • the type of work carried out changes significantly; or
  • gaps in competency are identified.

267 It should include reviewing where things have gone wrong and sharing good practice.

268 Where training needs dictate, refresher training should include an appropriate element of practical training, particularly covering decontamination procedures, use of RPE, FFT and controlled removal techniques.

Although employers may choose to define a fixed refresher period, and those that issue training certificates may include a date on them, a common-sense approach to training intervals based on training needs analysis should be adopted in the present public health emergency. If work which is considered essential continues employers must take steps to ensure that their workforce is competent, and competence is not dependent on any dated or undated training documentation.

Information on other topics related to the current public health Covid 19 outbreak can also be found on HSE’s website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm?utm_source=hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=refferal&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_content=home-page-banner

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