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Training to Remove Asbestos and Working With Asbestos

Posted on Friday, 28th June 2019

Training to Remove Asbestos and Working With Asbestos

What type of training is necessary to work with asbestos?

There are three main levels of information, instruction and training required to work with asbestos. These relate to:

  • Asbestos awareness
  • Non-licensable work with asbestos including NNLW (non-licensed; notifiable non-licensed work)
  • Licensable work with asbestos

Attending a training course on its own will not make a worker competent. Competence is developed over time by implementing and consolidating skills learnt during training, on-the-job learning, instruction and assessment.

Training for asbestos awareness is intended to give employers and employees the information they need to avoid work that may disturb asbestos, or what to do in the event of an emergency whilst carrying out normal work activities which could disturb the fabric of a building, or any other item which might contain asbestos. Awareness training on its own will not prepare workers, or self-employed contractors, to carry out work with asbestos-containing materials. If a worker or contractor is intending to carry out work that will disturb any ACMs (asbestos containing materials), further instruction and training is needed.

 Image shows close up of Asbestos.

Information and training about asbestos awareness should cover the following subjects:

The properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including increased risk of developing lung cancer for asbestos workers who smoke.

Asbestos types, uses and likely occurrence of asbestos materials in buildings.

Procedures to deal with an emergency, e.g. an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace and how to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos.

Workers or contractors who plan to carry out work that will disturb asbestos require a higher level of information and training, in addition to asbestos awareness. This should also take account of whether the work is non-licensed; notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW); or licensed work and should be job specific.

Non-licensable work, including Notifiable Non-licensed Work (NNLW)

This information and training is for those workers and contractors whose work will require them to disturb asbestos-containing materials, for example:

  • The drilling of holes in asbestos materials
  • Laying cables in areas containing undamaged asbestos materials
  • Removing floor tiles containing asbestos-
  • Maintaining or repairing asbestos cement sheet roofing or cladding

The information and training for non-licensable work with asbestos, including NNLW, should cover the following theory and practical modules, but not limited to:

TImage shows trained worker in Health and Safety gear disposing of Asbestos.heory:

  • Legislation
  • Categories of Asbestos Works
  • Risk Assessments and Plan of Work
  • Accidents, Incidents and Emergencies
  • Working with Asbestos Containing Materials
  • Building Mini-Enclosures (EM3)
  • Use of Class-H Vacuum (EM4)
  • Use of Wetting Control Measures (EM5)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (EM6)
  • Cleaning (EM7)
  • Decontamination (EM8)
  • Waste (EM9)
  • Certificate of Handover (EM10)


  • Use of Class-H Vacuum               
  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protective Equipment
  • Use of Wetting Techniques
  • Bagging Waste
  • Building a Mini Enclosure
  • Decontamination
  • Working Cement Board
  • Working with Artex         

Employers should also make sure that workers doing non-licensable work or NNLW have seen:

  • The risk assessment for the work
  • A copy of the plan of work
  • Any applicable details and results of air monitoring, including results for similar work
  • Maintenance records for control measures
  • If requested by the worker, their own personal information from health records and the results of any face-fit test (FFT) for RPE provided for work with asbestos
  • If requested by the worker, a copy of the individuals training record

It is important to note that this level of information and training is not sufficient for licensable work with asbestos.  

Licensable work with asbestos

Most work with higher risk asbestos-containing materials must be carried out by licensed contractors.

Only workers and managers, provided with suitable information instruction and training, using appropriate respiratory and any other protective equipment, may undertake licensed asbestos work.

Further information on providing information instruction and training for licensable work can be found in The licensed contractors' guide HSG 247 and the Approved Code of Practice L143 Managing and working with asbestos.

The following information should also be made available to workers doing licensable work with asbestos:

  • The risk assessment for that work
  • A copy of the plan of work
  • Details of any air monitoring and results
  • Details of notification of work made to the enforcing authority
  • Maintenance records for control measures
  • The workers own personal information from health records
  • Results of any face-fit test for RPE provided for work with asbestos
  • A copy of the licence
  • If applicable, any anonymised collective information from the health records

Refresher training on asbestos awareness

There is no legal requirement to repeat an entire formal awareness refresher training course every 12 months. However, some form of refresher should be given to help ensure knowledge of asbestos awareness is maintained.


Refresher training for licensable and non-licensable work including Notifiable Non-licensed Work (NNLW)

Refresher training on asbestos for licensable and non-licensable work should be appropriate to the task the worker is carrying out.

A certificate is not proof of competency to do the job, but where issued, a certificate shows the individual has had training and may be kept as part of an individual’s training record. Training may be required at varying intervals dependent on the nature of work being carried out; refer to the legislation and associated guidance for more details.

Get in Touch

Essential Site Skills have been equipping workers with the skills needed for the safe removal of asbestos for years. We offer a range of training and support for those who work with asbestos and employers.

Get in touch to book a course or ask a question.

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