22 Jan The Difference Between Licensed and Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal
Found in buildings across the country, asbestos has many useful building properties including its resistance to fire and its affordability. However, it can also be very damaging to the health of workers.
It is only recently that we have become fully aware of the health problems caused by exposure to asbestos, and measures have now been put in place to protect workers tasked with its removal. One method of controlling risk is labelling asbestos removal as either licensable or non-licensed, so that the appropriate measures and actions can be applied. This will affect both the preventative methods that are taken and the qualifications that are required to remove it.
Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal still requires training; however, a license isn’t necessary due to lower associated risks.
Licensable Asbestos Removal must be performed by a licensed contractor, and refers to activities which involve “significant hazard, risk or public concern.” Licenses can be granted by the HSE, who state that all work involving this type of activity must be brought to the attention of the “appropriate enforcing authority.”
Failure to recognise and adhere to licensing regulations can result in severe consequences for your business. For example, a company was recently fined by the HSE and its director was imprisoned for failing to subcontract the removal of asbestos to a licensed company, amongst other charges.
What Type of Asbestos Removal is Appropriate for Your Project?
Deciding which type of asbestos removal is best for your requirements will involve a thorough risk assessment. This should always be performed before any asbestos-related work is started, and it should contain key information such as the asbestos type and the recommended level of personal protective equipment (PPE).
When deciding which type of removal your project will require, you must first consider a range of factors. These include:
Friability– the friability of asbestos indicates how easily it will break down into smaller pieces. The more friable the asbestos is, the more likely it is to be inhaled and to cause harm to people nearby. For example, some asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) such as sprayed coatings are often very friable and can have a concentration of up to 85%. Loose powders, as well as insulation, can also be easily disturbed and inhaled by workers.
ACM Type- many types of asbestos-containing materials, including cement sheets and floor tiles, will be non-licensed when they’re kept in good condition. However, some types may become more friable when they’re worked on and require the person to inform the appropriate regulatory body. This is known as notifiable non-licensed removal.
Exposure– the regularity and intensity of the worker’s exposure to asbestos is key to its classification. For example, if the employee must spend longer than one hour each week working with more friable asbestos containing materials, a licensed contractor may be required.
Do My Employees Require Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal Training?
Participating in a non-licensed asbestos removal course can provide your employees with the skills and expertise necessary to manage risks and protect their health. It will compliment the training from an asbestos awareness course, which focuses more on identifying different types, as well as avoiding or limiting exposure.
According to The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, employees whose jobs involve working with asbestos are legally required to have the appropriate training. By participating in a non-licensed asbestos removal course, your business is remaining compliant with regulations and will be provided with documents to prove this.