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Asbestos: P


FRESHEN UP


Paul Reeve, head of Safety and Environment at the ECA, answers the most common questions about asbestos refresher training asked by M&E contractors


rotecting workers from exposure to asbestos is as important as it gets for M&E contractors, yet the practical requirements for maintaining operatives’ asbestos awareness are a common


source of questions to the ECA. M&E operatives who may encounter asbestos at work


(which means many thousands of operatives) should have received initial asbestos training that meets the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This is outlined in its Work with materials containing asbestos. Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 publication (L 143)*. This document (also known as ‘the asbestos ACoP’) says that, in addition to initial training, operatives also need ‘asbestos refresher training at regular intervals’. The refresher training must take


account of significant changes in methods of work, and match the nature and degree of any exposure identified by risk assessment. With these requirements in mind, these are some of


the most frequently asked questions on the subject from M&E contractors that the ECA receives.


If M&E operatives are not actively undergoing the required asbestos refresher training, they need to be trained up quickly


How regular does ‘regular’ refresher training need to be? Refresher training should be given ‘at least once every year’. If M&E operatives are not actively undergoing the required asbestos refresher training, they need to be trained up quickly.


Do we need to put our operatives on annual refresher courses? This depends greatly on what you are required to do by your customers. However, if an operative has had initial training and is getting effective refresher training in-company, they do not need to keep going on external asbestos refresher courses. The HSE wants to see practical refresher training that, where possible, includes demonstrations (for example,


November 2011 ECA Today 57


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