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Asbestos Awareness Training:

This is your legal responsibility
June 11th, 2023

Asbestos is installed in over 1.5 million buildings in the UK. Over 5,000 people die each year from asbestos-related illnesses, and building projects can face weeks to months of costly delays if people unwittingly disturb and are potentially exposed to asbestos.  The dangers are well-known, but they’re easily avoidable – if you know what to do.  Under The Control of Asbestos Regulations, every employer must ensure that adequate information, instruction and training is given to those employees who are liable to disturb or be exposed to asbestos during the course of their work.

This simple guide answers every question about the legally required asbestos awareness training you will need if you are going to work on a site where asbestos may be present.



Asbestos awareness training is required to be given to employees whose work could foreseeably disturb the fabric of the building and expose them to asbestos or who supervise or influence such work. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can be found on any site in the UK built before the year 2000, so these regulations apply to older premises such as schools, universities, shopping centres and hospitals for example. This requirement does not apply where the employer can demonstrate that work will only be carried out in or on premises free of asbestos containing materials.

The main point of having asbestos awareness training is to help employees avoid carrying out work that will disturb asbestos.



Simply put, anyone who is working on a site where asbestos may be present, needs to be trained.

The HSE’s guidance on this names anyone in “refurbishment, maintenance or allied trades”, and if you are one of the below – or supervise any of these roles – this includes you:

  • Demolition workers
  • Construction workers
  • General maintenance staff
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Gas fitters
  • Painters/Decorators
  • Joiners
  • Shop fitters
  • Plasterers
  • Roofers
  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Telecoms engineers
  • Computer and data installers
  • Alarm installers
  • Architects, building surveyors and related professionals 




You might spend half a day to a day on an IATP-accredited asbestos awareness course, which is a relatively short time to cover a lot of ground. However, it teaches employees how to recognise and avoid carrying out work which may disturb asbestos.

On an asbestos awareness course, you will learn about:

  • What asbestos is, and what makes it harmful
  • Its effects on your health
  • The different types of asbestos you may encounter
  • Relevant asbestos legislation you need to be aware of
  • What you need to do if you come across it while working
  • How to avoid the risks of asbestos exposure
  • General procedures to follow to deal with an emergency

Once you complete a multiple-choice assessment at the end of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion, and you’ll be informed and aware of the risks of asbestos disturbance on the sites you are working on.



There is no legal requirement to repeat an entire asbestos awareness course every 12 months. However some form of refresher should be given, as necessary, to help ensure knowledge of asbestos is maintained. In any case, site workers and companies that regularly work on site with asbestos containing materials present, often choose to improve their general awareness by refreshing their training regularly. For this, IATP-accredited refresher courses are available.



An asbestos awareness certificate will not prepare employees or self-employed contractors to carry out work with asbestos containing materials. Asbestos awareness training is only intended to help employees avoid carrying out work that will disturb asbestos.  You will need entirely separate training to carry out work with asbestos.

Tip: This will be in the form of Licensable training or non-licensable training.



By organising training with AEC, you can have training tailored to your specific needs and delivered where convenient to you. Last year, we trained thousands of delegates on our Asbestos Awareness courses, and our instructors have decades of experience in the industry.



Do you need support?

We hope that this guide has resolved your doubts about asbestos awareness training. If you need to organise training (or a refresher), you can see our full course catalogue. If you have any questions about the right training for you, you can email us at [email protected] or call (0)161 872 7111.


We have training facilities in Manchester and Essex, UK.

Yes. If it’s easier for us to deliver at your premises, please contact our team on 0161 872 7111 or email [email protected] to discuss your options.

Yes. Some of our courses are delivered online. These are ‘real-time’ training sessions delivered by our own trainers.  View our online course catalogue  for online course availability.  If you are overseas or looking for something more bespoke, contact our team on +44 (0) 161 872 7111  or email [email protected] to discuss your options.

Our award-winning facilities provide both classroom theory and innovative practical training.  Our programmes are uniquely designed to ensure all delegates are hands-on and dealing with real-life scenarios, better preparing them for the real world of work. View the AEC Hazard House and our other practical training aids here

Yes. AEC is accredited by nationally recognised bodies such as BOHS, IATP and IOSH to deliver a wide range of courses.

All our courses are taught by our own specialist trainers, with between 15 and 38 years experience in their respective disciplines.  Our trainers have worked as UKAS/LCA technical and quality managers so have a detailed understanding of the needs of our clients.

* AEC is UKAS accredited for asbestos surveys, air testing and bulk sample analysis only.

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