4 Types of Asbestos Training You Can Get in New Zealand

Asbestos is a common mineral that is composed of heat, electricity, and corrosion-resistant fibres. These qualities make asbestos a useful additive in various materials, particularly those used in the construction industry.

However, asbestos is also highly toxic. When inhaled or ingested, the fibres can get trapped in the body and cause scarring, inflammation, and other kinds of respiratory damage. Asbestos exposure can also lead to highly fatal cancers, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

This is why asbestos training is necessary for any worker who may be exposed to the substance. The training ensures that the person knows how to safely handle asbestos, so as not to spread its fibres during abatement or removal.

There are four kinds of asbestos training available in New Zealand. To know all about these courses and to determine which one you need, you can check out the list below.

Asbestos Awareness Training

The thing about asbestos fibres is that they are quite distinct under a microscope but are so small that they’re invisible to the naked eye. Thus, workers can get easily exposed to traces of the substance without their knowledge.

This is why it’s important to be able to know where asbestos could be found and how to identify it, as well as how to avoid releasing its fibres when handling asbestos-containing materials or ACMs.

Asbestos awareness courses cover the above-mentioned topics, as well as how to identify ACMs. You will also learn all about the possible effects of asbestos exposure, how the substance is a threat to public health, and different legislations that apply to asbestos.

Finally, asbestos awareness courses will equip you with the knowledge of safety requirements when working with different kinds of asbestos, and the difference scenarios in which a licence is required.

This asbestos training course is ideal for the following:

  • Building and construction workers
  • Emergency service workers
  • Maintenance and repair workers
  • Those who need an asbestos Class B or Class A licence

Asbestos Class B Training

There are two kinds of asbestos: Class B and Class A. Class B is the bonded form of asbestos, which is mixed into products such as plastic or cement to help strengthen them.

Class B asbestos is often referred to as non-friable asbestos because the items they are combined with are not easily crushed or crumbled. Therefore, asbestos fibres are not as easily exposed.

This is why non-friable asbestos is considered relatively safe as long as it is not disturbed within the material. However, this is also why training is necessary for handling the material: to ensure that the asbestos will indeed not be disturbed during handling.

Class B asbestos training teaches participants how to identify Class B from Class A asbestos. Also covered are the preparation procedures for both the non-friable asbestos and the removal site to ensure safety.

The training also includes proper asbestos removal and site clean-up and decontamination. Also included in Class B asbestos training is how to write and use documentation to meet New Zealand regulatory requirements.

Class B asbestos training is ideal for the following individuals:

  • Those who want or need a Class B removal licence
  • Those whose jobs involve Class B asbestos removal
  • Those who want to become a licenced asbestos removal supervisor

Asbestos Class A Training

Class A or friable asbestos are those ACMs that are powdery or are easily crushed or pulverised. This means that it’s easy to disturb and release the fibres into the air. This is a big health hazard, because the fibres are light and can therefore spread easily.

Some of the most common friable asbestos products include roofing materials, floor tile backing, thermal insulation, and low-density boards. ACD or asbestos-contaminated dust produced by Class B products is also considered friable asbestos.

Due to the fragile nature of friable asbestos, specialised Class A training courses must be undertaken by those who will handle the material. This is to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres and minimise the risk of exposure.

Aside from identification and proper removal of friable asbestos, the training programmes also involve the preparation, isolation, and decontamination of the removal site. Participants will also learn about correct disposal methods, as well as the documentation required by law.

Those who will benefit the most from Class A asbestos training include:

  • People who want or need a Class A asbestos removal licence
  • People whose work involve dealing with Class A asbestos
  • People who want to become licenced as asbestos supervisor

Asbestos Supervisor Training

In New Zealand, the presence of a qualified supervisor is required for the removal of both friable and non-friable asbestos. For friable asbestos, a supervisor is needed for any amount to be removed. For non-friable asbestos, a supervisor is needed if there is more than one person conducting the removal work.

In addition, the supervisor must have theoretical and practical knowledge of asbestos removal. They must have the corresponding certification (Class A or Class B licence) and have relevant industry experience as well. Class A supervisors require 3 years of experience, while Class B supervisors require 1 year.

For the certification, asbestos supervisor courses cover topics such as planning, preparing the site, supervising testing and compliance, and providing team support.

Most of the time, people who are not required to undertake asbestos removal or do not work with asbestos directly only take the introductory course. However, it’s also useful and even advantageous to be licenced in at least Class B especially for those in the building and construction industry.

Once you meet the required years of experience, it’s also a good idea to do the supervisor course to level up in your career.