Posted on Friday, 31st May 2019
Asbestos was a common building material used across the world, due to its versatility and thermal properties. Asbestos is incredibly harmful to human health, so regulations are in place (CAR 2012) and the use of asbestos is banned within the UK.
As asbestos is so harmful, even the removal process is risky and requires the correct training and awareness. In our new asbestos series, we’re exploring the difference between licensed, non-licensed and NNLW asbestos work, the training you need for working with asbestos containing materials, and how you can apply for a license (if required).
For many years we have been aware of the serious health problems associated with asbestos exposure and thankfully, measures were put in place to protect anyone working with asbestos containing materials (ACMs).
This doesn’t mean asbestos isn’t a concern anymore, it’s quite the opposite; domestic and non-domestic renovations or development and demolition of commercial buildings mean that people do still regularly encounter asbestos. People who work with asbestos are more prone to inhaling asbestos fibres or dust as the removal process will cause breakdown in the material. Therefore, the process must be strict when working with asbestos contained materials.
One of the best methods to control the risks associated with asbestos work is to identify the job as either licensable or non-licensed (NNLW) work. This ensures that the appropriate measures and controls can be applied to the task. Using this method will affect the preventative methods that are taken during works and the qualifications that you will need to work with different ACMs.
So, what is the difference between licensed and non-licensed including NNLW asbestos work?
Non-Licensed (NNLW) Asbestos Work - sounds less scary, but you still need training to be able to safely carry out the work. however, no license is needed due to the lower associated risks.
Licensable Asbestos Work - to remove this category of asbestos you will need a specialist license. These are issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
If the work isn’t correctly assessed and categorised then you put yourself or your employees at risk, in addition to putting your business and reputation on the line.
A risk assessment will identify if the work is non-licensed (NNLW) or licensed work and will look at several factors, including; the friability (the ability to reduce a solid substance into smaller pieces with little effort) and type of asbestos, and how long you or your staff will spend exposed to asbestos containing material.
As mentioned, even non-licensed and NNLW work with asbestos still requires training. The risks may be lower than licensed works but are still significant enough to have an impact on your life if proper precautions aren’t taken.
The HSE has rough guidelines on the appropriate levels of training needed to work with and remove asbestos, these are categorised in three levels;
Asbestos Awareness – an awareness course is intended to give workers and supervisors the information they need to avoid work that may disturb asbestos and educate them about the dangers of asbestos containing materials.
Course we recommend: Asbestos Awareness UKATA
Non-Licensable and Notifiable Non-License Work with Asbestos – people who may need this level of information and training include those whose work will require them to disturb or remove asbestos-containing materials (as defined in CAR 2012).
Course we recommend: Non Licensable work with Asbestos UKATA
Licensable Work with Asbestos – workers who need to obtain an asbestos removal license and work with high risk materials (As defined in Car 2012).
Course we recommend: Level 2 NVQ in Removal of Hazardous Waste - Licensed Asbestos
For those working with high risk asbestos, it is yours or your employer’s responsibility to apply for an maintain a license for asbestos removal. The application process is explained here.
Once you have achieved the Level 2 NVQ in Removal of Hazardous Waste – Licensed Asbestos, you are on your way to becoming eligible for the ACAD CSCS Skilled Worker Card - Licensed Asbestos.
Like other CSCS cards, this card is a requirement for many sites and allows you to demonstrate your practical and theoretical competency.
In order to achieve the ACAD CSCS Skilled Worker Card - Licensed Asbestos, you will need to have achieved the NVQ L2 Removal of Hazardous Waste (Construction) – Licensed Asbestos, and also have achieved a ACAD, IATP, UKATA, or ARCA Operative Refresher Training Certificate within the previous 12 months.
Not only that, but like the other CSCS cards, you also need to have achieved one of the following:
You can study the relevant courses to achieve this card with us, Essential Site Skills. Once you have achieved the card, they last for five years.
If you need any advice on which asbestos training course is the most suitable either for yourself, or employees then please get in touch.