There are a variety of different types of accreditations, qualifications and awarding bodies that operate in the asbestos removal industry. It’s vital to understand these as asbestos is a dangerous material. The removal process carries significant risk as asbestos releases its spores if you don’t handle it safely. Subsequently, some types of asbestos work can only be carried out by licensed contractors. There are also other types of work that unlicensed contractors can undertake. Read on to find out more about licensing and other accreditations for asbestos removal.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carry out asbestos licensing. The HSE licenses are separate to other qualifications. A contractor can have a HSE license and also be accredited by other bodies. However, it is an offence to carry out licensable work with asbestos without a license. Certain types of high-risk asbestos work must only be carried out by licensed contractors. This work includes:
- Work on loose fill asbestos-containing insulation
- Cleaning up large quantities of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) dust
- Work on asbestos millboard
- Work on asbestos insulating board where the risk assessment indicates it will not be a short duration
The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) is a separate body. They offer training as well as guidance to asbestos contractors. ARCA members are accredited through a site audit scheme which requires two site audits per year. In addition, membership of ARCA means that contractors have access to specialist advice and guidance. They also offer contractors a variety of training courses and qualifications.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) also provide accreditation for asbestos contractors. UKAS accreditation proves that the contractors have the correct processes in place to carry out asbestos removal in a safe manner.
The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) may also provide accreditation for asbestos removal contractors. This accreditation body drives standards for health and safety across a range of industries.
Training courses for asbestos are also a key part of the accreditation system. There are several training courses that you may be legally required to undertake as an employee in a building where asbestos is found. For example, asbestos awareness and duty to manage appointed persons courses. The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) provide accreditation for training providers that offer these courses.
In conclusion, asbestos removal is a hazardous process. It’s vital to ensure that the contractor you choose to remove asbestos in your property will carry out the work safely and efficiently. You should also make sure that any licensed work you need to have done is carried out by a licensed contractor. For non-licensed work, it’s best to use an ARCA or UKAS accredited contractor or one with a HSE license. This will ensure that the contractor has received the appropriate training. Finally, you can find more information about asbestos licensing on the HSE’s website.