What is duty to manage asbestos training?
In their normal state, ACMs don’t pose a health hazard. However, when damaged, dangerous asbestos fibres can become airborne. When inhaled, they can cause serious, life-threatening diseases and cancers several years in the future.
The purpose of asbestos management on a commercial property is to ensure that any ACMs on the premises are not in an unsafe condition. When damaged ACMs are found, the dutyholder must make plans to remove the asbetos or otherwise make the property safe for workers and visitors.
- 1 What is a dutyholder?
- 2 What are the dutyholder’s responsibilities in asbestos management?
- 3 The importance of duty to manage asbestos training
- 4 What are the key components of duty to manage asbestos training?
- 5 What are the legal consequences for improperly managing asbestos?
- 6 The training process for dutyholders
- 7 Benefits of duty to manage asbestos training
- 8 Final thoughts about duty to manage asbestos training
What is a dutyholder?
A dutyholder is the individual on a commercial property who is responsible for asbestos management and safety. The dutyholder is usually the person in charge of maintaining an overall safe environment. Alternatively, they may be put in charge of asbestos management by another supervisor.
The duty to manage asbestos is included in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012). According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the person in charge of maintenance for a non-domestic property has a duty to manage on-site asbestos in order to protect those working in or using the premises from asbestos exposure and its related health risks.
What are the dutyholder’s responsibilities in asbestos management?
To keep the environment safe from dangerous asbestos fibres becoming airborne, dutyholders are expected to do the following:
- Find any ACMs on the property so they can be assessed .
- Identify asbestos risks, and address them as needed to keep the environment safe.
- Develop and implement an asbestos management plan.
- Ensure that all asbestos work and plans are in compliance with the law.
- Communicate with relevant parties about the site’s asbestos situation and planning.
- Monitor ACMs over time to determine if they’re become damaged or disturbed and need further attention.
If they have the right background, the dutyholder may be able to handle all of these tasks on their own. Otherwise, they can hire asbestos professionals. An asbestos company or contractor can properly find and evaluate ACMs, come up with a plan for management, and carry out the necessary steps.
The importance of duty to manage asbestos training
Duty to manage asbestos training provides dutyholders with working knowledge of CAR 2012. The training courses are for anyone in a dutyholder position.
Duty to manage asbestos training covers the following topics:
- Asbestos surveys
- Asbestos risk assessments
- Asbestos management plans
- Acting on asbestos management plans
- Legal responsibilities of asbestos management
Depending on past training, an individual may need to take the full course or a refresher course. There are two refresher courses to choose from, and the one to take is based on when the last training course was completed.
Is duty to manage asbestos training a legal requirement?
Training for dutyholders is not an explicit requirement by the HSE. However, the HSE does state, “Workers and supervisors must be able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know what to do if they come across them in order to protect themselves and others.” The HSE also says that asbestos awareness is one of the main types of training needed.
Duty to manage asbestos training can prepare dutyholders to do their job according to the legal guidelines of the HSE.
What are the key components of duty to manage asbestos training?
Here are the components taught in duty to manage asbestos training:
- Using building plans and blueprints to figure out where ACMs are present or might be present so they can be inspected.
- Conducting an asbestos risk assessment to identify the risks and decide how to best control them.
- Assessing the ACMs to determine if they’re posing a risk and how much of a risk is present.
- Creating an asbestos management plan to either keep undamaged ACMs safe, encapsulate low-risk ACMs, or remove high-risk ACMs.
- Continuing to monitor ACMs on the premises so that any changes can be handled before an asbestos exposure event occurs.
- Complying with legal requirements and reporting asbestos work as needed.
- Creating an emergency-response plan in the event of unexpected asbestos discovery or exposure.
- Communicating with any and all affected parties on the premises about the state of asbestos in the building and plans for controlling it.
Duty to manage asbestos training teaches everything the dutyholder will need to know to responsibly manage asbestos on the premises, make asbestos-related decisions, and keep everyone safe.
What are the legal consequences for improperly managing asbestos?
Dutyholders who fail to properly manage asbestos, whether that’s by improper planning, dangerous disposal of ACMs, or committing another offense, face legal and professional consequences, such as:
- High fines
- Civil and criminal liability
- Loss of business
The HSE, along with local authorities, enforces asbestos regulations in the UK.
An example of a legal consequence for improper asbestos management is this unlicensed asbestos-removal company that was fined £80,000 for not safely removing dangerous ACMs. The director of the company was also jailed.
In addition to legal punishments, companies that don’t manage asbestos correctly can suffer from a hit to their business reputation. This can lead to a serious loss of business, and it may also prevent workers from applying for jobs at the company in the future.
The training process for dutyholders
It’s best to take training from the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) or to find UKATA-certified training. UKATA training follows the recommendations and legal requirements of CAR 2012.
There are three duty to manage asbestos training programs:
- DM1: This course is for dutyholders with no prior training, and it includes asbestos awareness. DM1 is one day or six training hours.
- DM2: This course is for dutyholders who have taken UKATA-certified training within the past six months. Verification is required. DM2 is half a day or three hours.
- DM3: This is a refresher course that can be taken as needed.
If an online course is more convenient than an in-person course, virtual options are available.
It’s best to choose an online course that’s live instead of pre-recorded. That way, questions can be asked and discussion can take place. This ensures all participants get the most they can out of the training.
Benefits of duty to manage asbestos training
Aside from ensuring that you’re complying with legal guidelines and suggestions for asbestos management, there are a lot of benefits to taking a duty to manage asbestos training course:
- Most importantly, you’ll reduce the risk of asbestos exposure and asbestos-related health conditions, keeping workers and visitors safe.
- Financial and legal risks will be mitigated when you manage asbestos to the best of your ability.
- The work environment will stay safe and legally compliant. This keeps workers safe from harm, and it keeps you and the business protected from legal action.
Also, you’ll protect the organisation’s reputation overall. You’ll avoid the bad press and negative sentiment that could occur if you don’t handle asbestos properly.
Final thoughts about duty to manage asbestos training
Asbestos management is a serious undertaking. Failing to properly manage asbestos can lead to serious health conditions and death in the future for those who have been exposed. The responsibility of a dutyholder is to keep everyone safe from asbestos exposure and prevent these risks.
A proactive approach to asbestos safety is the best option. Reacting to an asbestos exposure event is much more risky than assessing the condition of ACMs before they pose a problem and then taking action to keep them safe.
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.