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Asbestos bulk analysis


The objective of this qualification is to provide learners with the knowledge and understanding to be able to carry out analysis of samples in the workplace.

Standard details

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 3 days of 6 learning hours per day


The Control of Asbestos Regulations imposes duties on every organisation who analyses samples for the identification of asbestos to be accredited by UKAS for this activity. Laboratory analysts will need to be able to analyse and identify asbestos from within samples collected out on site in accordance with the procedures described in HSG248.

The objective of this qualification is to provide learners with the knowledge and understanding to be able to carry out this role in the workplace. Possession of this qualification by staff will help organisations and companies meet the accreditation criteria for ISO17025 (testing bodies).

The scope of this standard covers:

  • different types of asbestos
  • asbestos containing products
  • risks to health
  • legislation
  • use of polarised light
  • features of asbestos fibres
  • equipment required
  • refractive index liquids
  • mistaken materials
  • procedural errors
  • quality control procedures
  • safety procedures
  • preparing samples
  • polarising microscope
  • asbestos fibre characteristics
  • analytical procedures
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • analyst
  • analyst supervisor
  • analyst manager

Candidate pre-requisites

It is recommended that the candidate should have bulk analysis experience plus an awareness of the contents of HSG248 Asbestos: The Analysts’ Guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate e.g. NVQ Level 3 Learning and Development or higher 
  • successfully completed training to this standard 
  • at least 3 years relevant experience
  • a verifiable CV.


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods may be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • a mixture of classroom and demonstration and practice

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more practical learning. 

This standard is considered to be set at an advanced level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment or knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance


CITB will gain assurance through the third party’s quality arrangements. 

 Approved Training Organisations will be required to supply confirmation of approval (centre approval and scheme approval) with the related third party awarding organisation or body. In most cases this will be an approval certificate provided by the third party awarding organisation or body, listing the routes, qualifications and categories they are approved to deliver. In addition, a copy of the most recent external quality assurance monitoring report will be required, relating to the standard that you wish to be approved for.

This information will be reviewed by CITB’s quality assurance team. Approval will be subject to the required third party documentation being supplied by you. As part of the quality assurance checks, CITB may confirm the accuracy of documentation with the issuing organisation.


There is no renewal or refresher requirement.

Approval date

To be confirmed

Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 year(s) from approval date.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes
The candidate will be able to: Additional guidance to support learning outcome
Explain the health risks uses and properties of asbestos.
  • State the properties and characteristics of different types of asbestos. 
  • Review the types and uses of asbestos containing products. 
  • Explain the risks to health of asbestos.
Describe the legislation relating to asbestos.
  • Summarise legislation relating to the control and use of asbestos.
Describe how polarised light microscopy can be used in the identification of asbestos fibre.
  • Describe the effect of polarised light on vitreous, crystalline and amorphous materials.
  • State the features of asbestos fibres that allow them to be identified by polarised light microscopy. 
  • Identify equipment required for the identification of asbestos fibres by low power stereo and polarised light microscopy.
  • Outline the use of refractive index liquids in asbestos analysis and describe the methods used for sample preparation.
Explain the factors that may prevent the identification of asbestos fibres by polarised light microscopy.
  • Explain how some materials can be mistaken for asbestos fibres by polarised light microscopy.
  • Identify procedural errors that may result in failure to accurately identify asbestos fibres.
  • Outline quality control procedures and limits of detection for the PLM method as described in HSG 248. 

Describe the safety requirements for the use of polarised light microscopy in the identification of asbestos fibres.
  • Outline procedures for maintaining safety during asbestos analysis.
Carry out preparatory procedures for identifying asbestos fibres by polarised light microscopy.
  • Prepare samples for polarised light microscopy
  • Set up a polarising microscope for use.
Carry out polarised light microscopy for the identification of asbestos fibres.
  • Identify asbestos fibre characteristics by the use of PLM. 
  • Demonstrate the use of refractive index liquids in the identification of asbestos fibres.
Carry out appropriate health and safety procedures in the analysis of asbestos samples.
  • Ensure that all analytical procedures are performed safely. 
  • Use appropriate PPE during analytical procedures.

Additional information

Other organisations who work with asbestos awareness

ACAD (Asbestos Control and Abatement Division)

ARCA (Asbestos Removal Contractors Association

HSE (Health and Safety Executive)

NFDC (National Federation of Demolition Contractors)

UKATA (UK Asbestos Training Association)

NASC (National Association of Scaffolding Contractors)

IATP (Independent Asbestos Training Providers)

BOHS (British Occupational Hygiene Society)

RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health)

NORAC (National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants)