Asbestos Removal Certification

Introduction to Asbestos Removal Certification

A recent survey from the British Lung Foundation discovered that a very significant number of British homeowners were not aware that asbestos fibres were used in housing products as recently as the 20th century.  The survey of 2,000 participants discovered that 45% were unaware that asbestos could readily be found in residential and commercial structures today. 

Increasing Awareness and Demand

The BLF survey also found that 77% of homeowners did not know how to safely handle asbestos and 65% were not confident they could identify the material in their own homes if they chanced upon it.
As awareness grows so too does the education regarding the health risks and repercussions of living in an environment with asbestos.  The demand for removal services is expected to increase as is the demand for Asbestos Removal Certification for individuals wishing to become employed in the trade.

Professional Associations

Many trade institutions offer asbestos removal certification and the course material can vary depending on the level of certification sought.  Some become certified in the inspection and identification of asbestos (surveying) while others become licensed to both survey and provide removal services. 

One type of asbestos removal certification is the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA).  This is the standard in Great Britain for contractors and professionals involved in the surveying of property (inspection) for asbestos or for the removal or encapsulation of the material in residential or commercial areas.  Another popular institution providing certification courses in the UK is the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) which governs course content and provides a code of standards of safe practice for all of its graduates. 

One benefit of belonging to a professional association is that as governance and regulations change in the industry, members are apprised of the changes and provided with opportunities to upgrade their asbestos removal certification as required.

Levels of Certification

In the UK the minimal amount of training that an entry level tradesperson must possess to conduct contract work in areas where asbestos is present is the certification in awareness.  This entry level certification allows individuals to be employed in renovation of buildings which were built prior to the year 2000 and where asbestos has been used.  The certificate does however prohibit the removal of or preparation for removal of the hazardous material without further certification.  The intention is to minimize risk to the public and to the worker with safety training.

In order to be employed in the removal services more detailed training and certification is required.  The UKATA defines a level two certification as appropriate for “…those whose work will knowingly disturb low risk asbestos containing materials, such as maintenance workers and their supervisors; and those who carry out asbestos sampling and analysis.” This is identified as suitable for “non-licensed work”.

Individuals wishing to receive full asbestos removal certification must complete training to engage in “licensed asbestos removal”.  The UKATA defines a first class certification as appropriate for”… carrying out work with or removing asbestos containing materials that are relatively high risk such as laggings, sprayed coatings and insulating board.  This training is required for Operatives, Supervisors and Managers.”

Whether providing survey or removal services there is significant long term growth and demand for asbestos removal in the UK making it a highly lucrative trade to pursue.