How often should I take a refresher for asbestos duty to manage training and why?
Asbestos is a mineral that was once widely used in construction materials. Its benefits were resistance to corrosion, heat, and electricity. Those benefits made it ideal for building insulation and other purposes.
However, the life-threatening health effects of asbestos eventually became widely known. As a result, the UK banned the use of asbestos in 1999.
Unfortunately, buildings constructed prior to 2000 may still have asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in various areas.
The dutyholder of a building is in charge of properly managing asbestos to keep everyone on the premises safe. (The dutyholder is also the person responsible for the maintenance and safety of a building.)
Duty to manage asbestos training and refresher training courses give dutyholders the information they need to manage asbestos on their site. Training can also provide updated guidance should asbestos laws or best practices change.
- 1 Understanding asbestos duty to manage training
- 2 What is refresher training and when should it be taken?
- 3 Benefits of regular refresher training
- 4 Factors influencing refresher training frequency
- 5 Practical tips for effective refresher training
- 6 Final thoughts
Understanding asbestos duty to manage training
Duty to manage asbestos training teaches dutyholders about the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012). Those are the UK’s legal guidelines about how to manage asbestos.
Anyone in a dutyholder position in a commercial building should take duty to manage asbestos training.
The training covers topics like:
- How to conduct asbestos surveys and risk assessments
- Creating and taking action on an asbestos management plan
- Continuous monitoring of ACMs in case they change over time
- The legal responsibilities of asbestos management according to CAR2012
- Having a plan in case of an asbestos exposure emergency
- Communicating with those who could be impacted by asbestos on the site
There are both full courses and refresher courses for duty to manage asbestos training. The dutyholder will choose the appropriate course based on past training they’ve received.
What is refresher training and when should it be taken?
There are three asbestos training programs for dutyholders. The one to take is based on whether or not there’s been prior training:
- DM1: This is a full day course for those who have not previously undertaken Asbestos Awareness Training. On this course you would undertake Awareness in the Morning and then Duty to Manage training in the afternoon.
- DM2: This course is for those who have in date Asbestos Awareness Training that was undertaken within the last 6 months. Here you would just complete the Duty to Manage training course only over half a day.
- DM3: Refresher course taken 12+ months after other training. Refresher training should be considered if work methods change or if there are gaps in competency which have been identified by means of carrying out a TNA. It is important to note that Reg 10 of the ACoP requires employers to make sure that anyone who supervises employees who are liable to disturb asbestos during their work ensures they receive the correct level of information, instruction and training to enable them to carry out their work safely and competently and without risk to themselves or others. Unlike other forms of asbestos training, this means there is no stipulated time frame for completing a Duty to Manage refresher course, however good practice would be to refresh every 12 months.
The purpose of duty to manage asbestos refresher training is for dutyholders to fully understand their legal requirements even if it’s been a while since they took their first training course.
Refresher training is also an opportunity for dutyholders to get clarification on asbestos situations they’ve experienced but don’t fully understand.
Additionally, refresher training familiarises dutyholders with updated codes of practice, guidelines, and regulations that have undergone changes since the last training.
Benefits of regular refresher training
There are several benefits to taking a duty to manage asbestos refresher course. Let’s go over a few of them.
The dutyholder’s knowledge and skills will stay up-to-date
This is especially important in the event that legal guidelines or best practices have changed since the last training. Also, dutyholders may forget specifics about asbestos management over time. Refresher training provides reminders of those important details.
The dutyholder will remain aware of evolving asbestos risks
Asbestos can be in numerous parts of a property, both indoors and outside. Additionally, asbestos exposure can lead to serious health conditions decades down the line. Refresher training provides information about any asbestos discoveries or evolving risks that dutyholders need to know.
Best practices and safety protocols are reinforced
The purpose of properly managing asbestos on a commercial property is to keep everyone safe from an exposure event. Every best practice and safety protocol matters because asbestos poses such a high risk and can be very fragile.
The dutyholder will know how to stay legally compliant
Properly managing asbestos on a commercial property keeps everyone in the vicinity safe. In addition, it also keeps the business out of legal trouble. Failing to stay compliant with CAR2012 can result in high fines and even jail time.
Factors influencing refresher training frequency
How often a duty holder should take a refresher course can depend on several factors. Let’s go over them, starting with the main one: the type of building and the nature of the asbestos work.
Building types and the nature of the asbestos work
Certain types of buildings, like hospitals and schools, may have more pressing needs related to asbestos management than other types of buildings. When there are a lot of people in the building, particularly those with compromised immune systems, preventing even the slightest exposure risk is imperative.
On the other hand, the dutyholder of a commercial building that’s not in use or is only partially occupied won’t have the same demands.
Similarly, the type of asbestos work required will vary from building to building. For example, if there’s already an asbestos management in place, the dutyholder may only need to maintain the level of safety that’s been reached.
On the other hand, if there’s never been an asbestos survey conducted, the dutyholder will have a longer road of asbestos management ahead of them. The time it will take to learn everything necessary can be long enough that refresher training will be needed along the way.
Every type of building needs to remain safe from asbestos exposure. However, the amount of work required to keep the building safe varies based on how the building is used. Some buildings are easier to keep compliant than others, which limits how much refresher training is necessary.
Other factors that influence refresher training frequency
In addition to assessing how the building impacts the need for refresher training, consider these factors:
- The level of experience and expertise the dutyholder has. The more experience, the less refresher training is needed.
- Changes in job roles and responsibilities. For example, if the dutyholder of a building is assigned to a different branch, they may need refresher training to properly manage that new site’s specific asbestos situations.
- Specific requirements of regulatory bodies. If requirements change or an ACM that meets different requirements is found, the dutyholder may need refresher training.
In general, it’s also wise to have dutyholders take refresher training any time they feel they need it. If a dutyholder isn’t confident in their ability to properly manage asbestos, refresher training is a smart option.
Practical tips for effective refresher training
Duty to manage asbestos training and refresher training are not legal requirements by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). However, dutyholders are expected to understand CAR2012 and deal with asbestos situations in a legally compliant way. For that to happen, duty to manage training is often necessary.
The best duty to manage asbestos refresher training (and preliminary training) you can get is a United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) course. UKATA is recognised as the leading authority in asbestos training.
According to UKATA, refresher training should be taken “if work methods change or gaps in competency have been identified.” This means that refresher training doesn’t have to be on a set schedule. If it seems like a refresh of information is needed, it’s best to be on the safe side and take a refresher course.
Choosing a reputable training provider
You can find duty to manage asbestos training directly through UKATA. You can also look for a trainer that offers a UKATA-certified course, like the ones we have at Oracle Solutions.
Additionally, check that the training provider has a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certification. CPD means that there’s a dedication to continuing education and professional development.
Encouraging continuous learning and sharing
A cornerstone of the duty to manage asbestos is communicating with the rest of the team about asbestos requirements on-site. Similarly, refresher training and ongoing asbestos management rely on continuous learning and sharing knowledge with others.
Everyone who works at a commercial property should feel comfortable talking about safety issues. The more information everyone has, the better prepared they’ll be to keep themselves safe and report issues they notice.
Asbestos poses such a great health risk that it should never be avoided or ignored. As a dutyholder, it’s safest to assume that asbestos risks are dynamic and always changing. The proper training and refresher courses will help you maintain a safe environment even as more ACMs are discovered, work is performed on the building, or industry regulations change.
DM2 training can be taken within six months of the main DM1 duty to manage asbestos training course. For dutyholders who are facing extensive asbestos issues, the more refresher training, the better.
Additionally, after one year has passed since receiving training, the DM3 refresher course can be taken. This is an excellent chance to brush up on asbestos-management information that may have faded with time.
To ensure ongoing safety and compliance, dutyholders should consider refresher training courses as essential. For more information about duty to manage asbestos training or to sign up for a course, contact us today.
Written by Jess Scott
Jess Scott has been an all-round asbestos consultant since 1996. That’s nearly 3 decades of asbestos knowledge. He spends his time sharing that knowledge with the team at Oracle and with their clients. Jess's goal is, and always has been, to use my expertise in helping people to comply with the law. This legal compliance ultimately helps to protect everyone from the harmful effects of asbestos. Jess has acted as an asbestos expert witness in legal cases and is involved in many asbestos educational activities throughout the UK.