Who requires duty to manage asbestos training in the UK?

When it comes to the asbestos that continues to be present in buildings up and down the UK – even long after the 1999 ban on the substance being used in new construction or renovation projects – an extremely important concept is the “duty to manage” asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

The “duty to manage” asbestos is contained within regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012). It imposes various responsibilities on the person or organisation that holds the duty (otherwise known as the “dutyholder”), including taking reasonable steps to determine the status of asbestos in the buildings for which they are responsible, and preparing and putting into action a plan to manage ACMs.

Achieving compliance with the UK’s asbestos regulations is a critically important matter – not just for avoiding legal consequences such as fines or even imprisonment, but also for ensuring the greatest possible health and safety for everyone who uses a given premises where ACMs may exist.

So, with all of this in mind, what is duty to manage asbestos training, who needs to undergo such training, and what other details need to be understood about this form of training? Here, we will answer all these key questions.

Who requires duty to manage asbestos training in the UK?

What is duty to manage asbestos training?

As the term suggests, duty to manage asbestos training is training that is designed to help dutyholders comply with their legal responsibilities under CAR 2012. The “dutyholder” can be defined as the owner of a given non-domestic premises, or the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the premises.

CAR 2012 outlines a range of responsibilities that dutyholders have. These include, but are not limited to, taking reasonable steps to determine whether there are ACMs on the premises, and if so, information on the location, amount, and condition of any such materials. The dutyholder will also need to assess the risk of anyone coming into contact with the identified or suspected ACMs, followed by the preparation of a plan to help guard against the risks such materials present.

Duty to manage asbestos training will help dutyholders and appointed persons to comply with all such responsibilities. However, this type of training also provides a good general overview of the process of managing ACMs in UK buildings, so it is not necessarily only dutyholders who might undergo a course of this type.

It is also important to not confuse duty to manage asbestos training with asbestos awareness training. The latter is also known as category A, or Cat A training, and constitutes the most basic form of asbestos training. Instead of being aimed at dutyholders, it is designed for anyone who undertakes (or is set to undertake) work within or on any building or structure that may contain asbestos.

Or to put it another way: asbestos awareness training is meant to help workers, such as general maintenance workers, electricians, plumbers, and construction workers, to avoid work that could disturb asbestos. Unlike duty to manage asbestos training, it is not aimed at people who have the responsibility of actively managing the asbestos situation on a given site.

What is the legal framework for UK asbestos regulations?

When most people talk about the “UK asbestos regulations”, they will typically be referring to the aforementioned Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, also often known as CAR 2012.

Regulation 4 of this legislation sets out a “duty to manage” asbestos for those who manage non-domestic properties. It makes clear that the dutyholder is expected to fulfil a range of responsibilities. These include taking reasonable steps to find out whether there are ACMs in the premises for which they are responsible, in addition to making, and keeping up to date, a record of those materials, and devising a plan for dealing with the associated risks.

Duty to manage asbestos training can play a critical role in ensuring you meet all the above requirements if you are a dutyholder.

After all, even putting pure safety issues to one side, any failure to meet these legal obligations could have severe legal consequences. A dutyholder not putting in place a plan for managing asbestos on a site for which they are responsible could put them a risk of a fine of as much as £20,000, or even up to six months’ imprisonment. Serious regulatory breaches, meanwhile, can bring about an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years.

Who is affected by duty to manage asbestos training?

As stated earlier, duty to manage asbestos training is directed at people and organisations have the role of dutyholder for a given premises under CAR 2012. This can certainly include business owners and employers; indeed, employers already have wide-ranging duties to protect the health, safety, and welfare at work of all their employees, under the overarching Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Being responsible with asbestos management, then, very much feeds into that.

With an employer typically being a dutyholder under CAR 2012, duty to manage asbestos training can greatly aid their efforts to comply with their regulatory responsibilities in relation to asbestos – which in the process, helps to ensure a safe working environment.

Naturally, given the very real consequences that it can have for their safety (or lack of safety) when at work, employees and self-employed individuals are also affected by duty to manage asbestos training. Workers have their own vital part to play in practising individual responsibility and safeguarding against potential asbestos exposure in how they conduct themselves on a site where asbestos is suspected or confirmed to be present.

As we mentioned above – but it is worth reiterating – it is not only employers or the dutyholders themselves who may conceivably undergo duty to manage asbestos training. This type of training can serve as a suitable introduction to how asbestos can be managed on a given premises in a safe and legally compliant manner. So, an appointed person or anyone else who has some level of involvement in managing asbestos on a given premises may also take on this type of training.

Are there any specific industries and professions affected by duty to manage training?

There are certain industries and professions for which duty to manage asbestos training may seem especially relevant.

The construction and building maintenance sectors are obvious examples, given the high risk of disturbance to asbestos materials that construction and maintenance activities can bring. Similar could be said for property management and facilities maintenance, in light of the potentially widespread presence of asbestos in a building and the need for this to be safely managed.

In truth, however, all industries are potentially affected by duty to manage asbestos training, where there is a legal requirement to manage asbestos in a property.

It is also important to note that there should be someone who is duty to manage trained at every building, rather than simply one centralised duty to manage trained individual, given that the management of asbestos on-site can be a daily task in many industries.

How often should duty to manage training be renewed?

We advise those undertaking our own duty to manage asbestos training at Oracle Solutions to have this training refreshed at least every 12 months.

This is in accordance with approved codes of practice, and enables dutyholders and others who undergo this training to keep up to date with any changes that may have recently been made to asbestos legislation in the UK. It also, of course, simply helps dutyholders to keep their existing knowledge fresh, so that they can better ensure they make informed decisions on asbestos management.

How do you choose an accredited training provider?

When you are comparing options for duty to manage asbestos training, whether as an individual or an organisation, you are likely to be reassured by courses that come with relevant accreditations and certifications.

Here at Oracle Solutions, for example, we are a professional member of the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA), and we are fully CPD (Continuing Professional Development) certified, the latter a status conferred by the CPD Certification Service.

Seeking out such signifiers of quality from external sources will help you to be confident that you are obtaining your duty to manage asbestos training from a genuinely reputable organisation. And that, in turn, will help ensure the knowledge and skills you gain from such training will be sufficient for making sure you can comply with the legal requirements under CAR 2012.

Conclusion: this training is relevant to a wider range of people than you might realise

With the “duty to manage” asbestos that forms part of CAR 2012 being a key component of broad, overarching asbestos regulations in the UK, there is an exceedingly broad range of parties that is affected by this form of training.

The “duty to manage” itself is aimed at those who are responsible for the management, maintenance, and/or repair of non-domestic premises in the UK. This, in turn, means there are many different people and organisations – encompassing a broad range of industries – that can have the status of “dutyholder” (or who will potentially assist a dutyholder to comply with their obligations), and who would therefore stand to benefit from the right duty to manage asbestos training.

To learn more about our own duty to manage asbestos training as part of your proactive approach to asbestos awareness and management in the UK, please feel free to enquire to our team at Oracle Solutions today.

Photo of Brendan Coleman

Written by Brendan Coleman

Brendan Coleman, with decades of experience in the asbestos industry, is a dedicated Quality Manager. Certified as a surveyor and analyst, he is adept in operations and quality management with a keen focus on HSE compliance. His expertise is pivotal in maintaining high safety and efficiency standards. Brendan ensures our UKAS accreditation requirements are consistently met and exceeded, upholding stringent standards in asbestos remediation. His commitment to enhancing quality and customer satisfaction makes him an essential advisor in asbestos management.