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Asbestos is a set of naturally occurring silicate minerals, which were commonly used in buildings for decades due to their tensile strength and resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage. However, it is now known that prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to serious health concerns and even fatal illnesses. These include the likes of lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Due to this risk, local and federal standards have been created to ensure the safety of communities, manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers. Any contractor involved with asbestos must attend an accredited training program and get certified or else, face hefty fines.
Whether you do the asbestos abatement training online or offline, you will have to meet a certain criteria for application and course completion. The minimum entry criterion is a high school diploma and you will need up to 40 hours of training.
The training for asbestos abatement is administered and supervised by the states, which are required to comply with regulations established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Wherever you enroll for a training program, you will be following the EPA Model Accreditation Plan (MAP) for asbestos abatement workers. Under this program, you would be required to complete at least 4 days of training, which includes lectures, respirator fit training and a minimum of 14 hours of hands-on training and eventually an evaluation. The state law for this training program might vary. For instance, in the state of Alabama, asbestos contractors and supervisors are required to complete a five day long training session that includes working at a job site, lessons, practical demonstrations, and a written exam. In addition to the initial training completion, annual refresher programs are also required for all levels of asbestos removers. These are short courses that can usually be completed in one day.
If you are a trainee for asbestos abatement in California, there are several course categories you should be familiar with. These include asbestos initials, asbestos refreshers, EPA lead renovation, repair and painting, lead-paint refresher, mold, HAZWOPER, DOT hazardous materials transport, confined space and OSHA safety and in some cases, even language classes such as Spanish. The exact study materials and course structure will depend on what institute you complete your training from.
For trainers in California, the Business and Professions Code of California outlines five separate disciplines in relevance to asbestos requirements. These are: worker, contractor/supervisor, building inspector, management planner, and project designer. In order to stay updated, trainers have to continually do refresher trainings. The content and duration of each course, along with other relevant information is specified in the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Trainers are required to seek approval in any or all of the disciplines, for both, initial and refresher courses. They are also required by law to provide a list of successful trainees to the Division of Occupational Health and Safety after each course.