In brief, how long an asbestos training certificate lasts varies greatly and depends upon the training provider. Asbestos is a naturally occurring, but highly dangerous, fibre that was used extensively in the construction industry before the turn of the millennium. Unfortunately, is has since been discovered that asbestos inhalation can cause lung cancer, pleural disease, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Due to the widespread use of asbestos we are still surrounded by the dangerous substance. Therefore, those who complete demolition, refurbishment, installation and maintenance works on buildings built before 2000 require knowledge of how to mitigate this risk. Asbestos training can help to raise awareness of the dangers that asbestos poses. It also empowers employees to act safely when confronted with the dangerous substance. Many training providers issue a certificate upon completion of an asbestos training course, but the length of time that they are valid for varies significantly.
What is an Asbestos Awareness Certificate?
It is important to stress that an asbestos awareness certificate is not a legal document and being in possession of one is not required by law. It is simply an acknowledgment from a training provider that an employee has undergone asbestos training. In fact, not all training providers choose to issue a certificate. Whilst it can be included in an employee's health and safety training portfolio, a certificate is not required. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clarified that whilst asbestos training is a legal requirement, being in possession of a certificate after training is not.
Who Requires Asbestos Training?
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (regulation 10) highlights the need for employers to provide employees with "adequate information, instruction and training" on asbestos. This training should be provided to any employee who is likely to disturb asbestos through their normal work and additionally to those who supervise them. Certain occupations are more likely to be exposed to asbestos than others, including maintenance workers, decorators, electricians, plumbers and plasterers. Importantly, self-employed individuals are not exempt from this requirement and must also undertake asbestos training.
How Long does an Asbestos Awareness Certificate Last?
Essentially, this depends on the training provider. Some certificates have no expiry date at all, whilst others do. Many certificates have a one-year expiry date. However, once the certificate has expired this is not to say that the employee will need to undergo full asbestos training again; a brief refresher may in fact be enough. Keeping asbestos training up-to-date is crucial as it raises asbestos awareness and ensures that the constantly evolving legislation is adhered to.