Center for Asbestos Safety

Training For Asbestos Abatement Professionals

Federal laws exist that govern removal of asbestos. These laws state that professionals should undergo specific training in order to learn safe and effective removal, repair and disposal of asbestos products. These courses are offered in many states and EPA guidelines are available for the same. To retain their accreditation, asbestos professionals are required to take refresher courses every year. The hazards of asbestos, including the possibility of malignant mesothelioma for those exposed to airborne fibers, require training.

Asbestos abatement professionals are required to receive specific training as per the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act of 1986. The Model Accreditation Plan prepared by the EPA requires five training disciplines and one recommended discipline. All states are required to have training programs based on the MAP. More intensive training has been mandated for asbestos professionals under the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act of 1990 (ASHARA).

As per the EPA, refresher courses can be conducted online in addition to hands on training since in-person training is not required under MAP. Online courses are no longer approved by the EPA and it is now the responsibility of each individual state.

Hands-on training is not compulsory according to EPA’s Model Accreditation Plan (MAP) and the yearly refresher courses can be done online. Existing MAP guidelines require online courses to be as rigorous as the EPA MAP and that the preliminary courses are completed in person. It is the responsibility of the state to approve all new courses even when they may be based on an earlier syllabus. Information about training instructors including their credentials should be provided to the state for approval. Each refresher course must have all the relevant and latest information pertaining to the specific MAP discipline. The information provided in the course should be presented to the state for online course approval and all courses must comply with the stated training hour requirements for each individual discipline. All other requirements as stated under MAP are also applicable to online refresher courses.

Guidelines for States Assessing Proposed Online Courses

Online course instructors should check the eligibility of students enrolled for the yearly refresher course and verify credentials using their personal information such as state asbestos license numbers and social security numbers. With the help of online interactive tools, training providers should ensure that students actively participate throughout the training program. They should also ensure that students record the actual time spent on each of the online training modules. Online communication channels including message boards should be made available, allowing students to ask questions whenever needed. Assistance should also be provided to help students who might be experiencing technical difficulties.

Proper verification is required for each test that is conducted online. A testing center can be used to confirm the credentials of students taking online tests. Questions should be arranged randomly to ensure that students are not presented with the same exam again. Moreover, students should not be able to save or print test screens. Using system tools, training providers should eliminate all potential possibilities of frauds related to certificates earned online.

To verify credentials, states can mandate original signatures of students. Since asbestos laws vary from state to state, training providers should inform students about the course’s applicability to a specific state. To assess the advantages and disadvantages of the training, states can also instruct training providers to get the evaluation forms filled up by the students.

Minimum 8 hours of refresher training is required every year as per the Model Accreditation Plan. The same can be completed over a duration of 2 weeks, at a predetermined time of day. This way, students can ask questions and have real-time interactions with the instructors.

Center for Asbestos
Safety in the Workplace