Asbestos is a material common in many older buildings and is very serious health hazard to anyone who comes into contact with it. Due to its low cost and resistance to extreme heat, it was a common material in many construction and interior design products in homes, offices, warehouses and schools.
It’s fairly common to find asbestos ceiling tiles and asbestos roof tiles in buildings that were built or renovated between 1940 and 1990, as well as pipe and boiler insulation and paint that contains asbestos. Even a very small level of exposure to asbestos fibers can result in asbestosis, mesothelioma (often referred to as “asbestos cancer”) and other forms of lung disease.
Federal and local governments have established asbestos abatement laws and requirements for buildings that were constructed with asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Any business or independent contractor who is involved in an asbestos removal project must first take an asbestos training course from a certified training school to avoid having to pay a fine.
There are many different asbestos training courses. Below we have listed a brief description of what each involves so you can determine which is appropriate for your needs.
The Laws and Regulations About Asbestos Training
OSHA requires all employers to provide a mandatory 2 hour asbestos training course every year for all employees who are exposed to airborne asbestos fibers in excess of the minimum (which is currently 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter). Asbestos fibers are microscopic and don’t dissolve into the atmosphere, and because of this 9even though OSHA mandates this minimum level) there really is no safe level of exposure. Asbestos is far too dangerous to ever take any chances with.
In addition to OSHA’s requirements, the EPA requires that all school and university maintenance and custodial staff undergo a total of 16 hours of training (which consists of a 2 hour Asbestos Awareness Training Course and 14 additional hours of Orientation and Mobility Training).
These courses can be taken from various private training schools across the country, and most offer convenient online courses.
Online Asbestos Training Courses
All of the following courses can be taken online at any time, usually at a cost of between $40 and $75 per individual:
Asbestos Safety Course
This is a basic beginner courses that is appropriate for anyone who is likely to come into contact with asbestos in the workplace or at home. This course covers: the basics of what asbestos is, its health hazards, identifying asbestos products, asbestos regulations and legal requirements, and how to protect yourself and others from exposure to asbestos. This course is designed to meet OSHA’s regulations applicable to removing and handling asbestos materials, as well as construction, renovation and demolition work in buildings that contain asbestos.
Asbestos Awareness Training Course
OSHA requires that all employers who have asbestos within their premises provide this course for all employees who are likely to come into contact with asbestos. Additionally, all maintenance and custodial staff at schools and universities who are likely to come into contact with asbestos in the buildings they work are required to take this course.
An Asbestos Awareness Training Course covers the history and use of asbestos, its health effects, federal and local regulations concerning asbestos and its disposal, how to identify ACMs and how to contain them, what actions are safe and what actions should be avoided around asbestos, and how to avoid exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.
Asbestos Training Course for Contractors and Construction Professionals
Independent contractors, construction managers and workers need to understand the dangers of working with asbestos. This course is tailored specifically for employers and employees who will be working in a variety of different buildings that contain asbestos. This courses covers all the information needed to avoid asbestos exposure and maintain all OSHA and EPA health and safety requirements.
Asbestos Training Course for Supervisors and Managers
Supervisors and managers are required to maintain an Asbestos Supervisor License. This training course is specifically designed to provide all the information a supervisor needs to know in order to become certified and lead employees who handle asbestos. An Asbestos Supervisory Certificate is provided upon successful completion of the course and has to be renewed periodically by taking a refresher course.
Training Course for Asbestos Workers and Material Handlers
Workers who handle asbestos need to complete this training course. It provides the necessary information on how to handle and remove asbestos products and how to dispose of them safely. It also covers asbestos encapsulation and how to use and maintain the required personal protective equipment (PPE). All asbestos workers are required to pass this course and attain an Asbestos Worker License, which has to be renewed periodically.
Asbestos Course for Maintenance Staff and Technicians
For any employees who are likely to disturb even small amounts asbestos materials in their workplace need to be fully trained and know and understand the risks associated with asbestos. Maintenance, custodial staff and building technicians are required to take this course to know how to avoid exposure to asbestos and be able to perform their work safely in locations that contain asbestos materials.
Asbestos Abatement Manager Course
Construction engineers and managers who are involved in the renovation or demolition of buildings that contain asbestos need to take this course to understand the risks of asbestos and how to safely remove it from a worksite. Asbestos always requires specialized handling and PPE, and this course covers all of this in detail. Additional training courses are available for project managers who need to know specific details and understand asbestos abatement plans while preparing for an asbestos removal project.
Asbestos Cement Pipe Worker Course
Asbestos cement pipes were commonly used as drainage pipes and gas pipes due to their strength and resistance to deterioration. Any repair workers who come into contact with asbestos cement pipes must take this course to be able to safely complete their work with piping systems that contain asbestos.
Asbestos Roofing Specialist Course
Asbestos roof tiles are common in many older buildings. Removing these hazardous products is a very specialized and dangerous occupation. This course will provide roofing engineers with all the information they need to inspect and test sites that potentially contain asbestos, and how to oversee the safe removal of asbestos roof tiles.
Asbestos Lab Technician Course
This course is for air and material sampling lab technicians and will provide the necessary certification for lab technicians to collect and analyze asbestos fiber air samples. The course will cover the correct method of collecting samples, how to handle and transport the material, and how to analyze and prepare reports on asbestos materials.
Asbestos Air Monitoring Course
For employees who have the responsibility of monitoring the air quality of a location, this course provides all the information they need to monitor and test for asbestos fibers in the atmosphere. It also covers how to use and maintain air pumps and gages, how to collect, store and transport air samples and how to analyze the results of air quality tests.
Asbestos Courses for Building Inspectors
This course is for building inspectors who need to be able to recognize asbestos during surveys and understand the federal and state regulations about handling asbestos containing materials. Also included in the course is news and industry-specific updates, and the regulatory requirements and guidelines for safely collecting material samples.
Asbestos Inspector Course
This course will provide asbestos inspectors with the tools and information they need to properly assess locations that contain asbestos materials. Asbestos inspectors collect samples to be analyzed at an asbestos testing lab and communicate with supervisors, managers and construction workers at locations that contain asbestos. Asbestos inspectors are required to maintain a valid Asbestos Inspector License.
California Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC) Course
This course, as its name implies, covers the material that anyone becoming a CAC in the state of California needs to know. This course covers how to inspect buildings, how to collect material samples, how to plan an asbestos removal project, how to prepare a plan to manage asbestos encapsulation or other techniques to contain asbestos, and how to monitor asbestos abatement projects for compliance with regulatory standards.
In the United States, many asbestos training courses are available in Spanish and other languages to accommodate an increasingly diverse workforce. The course content is typically the same in each language. Also, many online courses have an option to select a language before beginning the course.
Refresher courses are available for many of the above courses to maintain a valid certification and/license. Most refresher courses need to be taken annual or biannually to avoid letting a certification or license expire. Usually, an expired license can renewed at any time by taking and passing the appropriate course.
It’s crucial that all employees who are likely to come into contact with asbestos containing materials be fully training in how to avoid exposure to this hazardous material. Very often it is maintenance and custodial employees who are most likely to disturb asbestos products and release asbestos fibers into the air without being aware of the dangers. Everyone, from building owners to construction workers to janitors need to be fully aware of what asbestos is, where it is located within a building and how to avoid releasing asbestos particles into the atmosphere.
Asbestos Training for Asbestos Removal Companies
For companies engaged in asbestos testing and removal, training should be ongoing. In addition to completing the necessary online courses and taking periodic refresher courses, training should be continued within your organization or business with all employees who work with asbestos in any capacity. It’s always better to be “safe than sorry” with asbestos, considering the huge health risks it has. There really is no such thing as too much training. Ultimately, the purpose of training is not just to meet legal requirements and provide the mandatory information but to keep everyone safe at all times. Ongoing training aims to do exactly that.