If you work in the construction industry or similar, exposure to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) is an ever-present risk. 

For this reason, ensuring you and any employees you oversee understand the health effects and dangers associated with this exposure is vital.

The best way to empower and protect yourself and others against unnecessary exposure is to engage in safety training regarding asbestos risks. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what is involved with an asbestos safety course, the benefits an awareness of asbestos brings and what is required to ensure optimal training.  

What Is Asbestos Awareness Training?

Asbestos awareness training involves teaching workers in the building and construction industry where asbestos may be found and how to keep safe from exposure. 

Within Australia, this training may include coursework related to

  • Identifying asbestos, its safe handling and appropriate control measures
  • Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs)
  • Naturally occurring asbestos
  • Health effects
  • Disposal
  • Relevant laws in your state or territory regarding asbestos

Why Is It Important?

Asbestos awareness training in workplace safety plays an important role in keeping individuals and the wider community safe from exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres. 

By avoiding or reducing the risks of this exposure, the chances of developing asbestos-related diseases are lessened. 

These diseases including mesothelioma, a type of cancer specific to asbestos exposure, severely impact quality of life and are usually life-limiting. 

The Benefits Of Asbestos Awareness Training

As asbestos-containing materials are widespread in older buildings and homes, the possibility of finding asbestos in the workplace as a builder, labourer or construction worker is high. 

Empowering workers with the appropriate training can help to protect them by:

  • Enabling them to recognise situations where asbestos may be present and properly identify the risk
  • Equipping them with the information needed to manage a discovery of asbestos such as knowing who to inform and not to attempt asbestos removal themselves
  • Ensuring they are aware of their legal obligations and those of their employers regarding asbestos safety
  • Giving them the tools to know how to respond in an emergency should accidental exposure occur to mitigate the risks

Tips For Delivering Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos awareness training should form part of a wider comprehensive safety program for those at risk of exposure in the workplace. Due to the high-risk nature of asbestos exposure, Asbestos awareness training should be delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

These organisations specialise in creating effective training programs that cover all the necessary and relevant information required to complete the training effectively. 

As experts in this area, these training organisations also know how to tailor the course material to ensure it applies to:

  • Different industries
  • Both employers and supervisors
  • Employees

Additionally, they are best suited to delivering training that is engaging and wholly comprehensive. This ensures the best outcomes for attendees in terms of course retention and ongoing safe practices. 

Who Should Attend Asbestos Awareness Training? 

If you have a history of working in locations or roles where asbestos may be present such as renovations, demolitions, plumbing, electrical or similar, this training is highly recommended.

How To Access This Training

Many workplaces arrange for this training to be carried out onsite for all employees on a yearly or as-needed basis. 

However, if you are self-employed or seeking to advance your skills for enhanced employment opportunities many RTOs run these courses for independent enrolments. 

The time required to complete the course may vary between providers but is typically over 4 to 5 hours or one full day. 

Does This Training Allow You To Remove & Dispose Of Asbestos? 

No, it is important to note that this training is intended to give course attendees a basic awareness of where asbestos may be present and how to respond when identified. 

It does not license or certify anyone to remove or dispose of asbestos. As per relevant legislation in each state and territory across Australia, this should only be done by a properly licensed asbestos expert. 

What To Do If You Discover Asbestos? 

So what should you do if following your training you discover or identify an asbestos risk in your workplace? 

It is important to either notify your employer or contact an asbestos removalist in line with your workplace policies so it can be properly dealt with. 

Icon Asbestos – Your Local Experts

In Brisbane, leading experts Icon Asbestos are fully licensed to manage all works related to asbestos identification, removal and disposal. 

For support with this or guidance on where to find appropriate awareness training in your area, simply call our friendly team at 07 3053 3453