Asbestos Fibre Counting (PCM) P403

Analysis of airborne samples plays a key role when managing asbestos in buildings in line with the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012. P403 – Asbestos Fibre Counting (PCM) gives analysts the knowledge and skills required to safely take air samples, prepare fibre counting slides, and accurately analyse these slides under a microscope to identify airborne fibre levels within the building or site. 

Who is it for?

The qualification is suitable for anyone who is:  

  • Required to undertake asbestos fibre counting as part of their work 
  • Considering a career in asbestos analysis 
  • Responsible for managing asbestos analysts 


The level of a qualification indicates the relative complexity and depth of knowledge and skills required to attain the qualification.  

This is a level 4 qualification in the BOHS qualifications framework, equivalent to NVQ Level 4 (HNC). 

How is it delivered?

The P403 course will generally run over two consecutive days and includes 11 hours of study time. This consists of 9 hours taught (teaching and formative practical assessment) and two hours of independent study (in your own time). 

The course can be delivered more flexibly, such as on one day per week over two weeks, but should still include 9 hours of teaching. 

Modules / Learning objectives

Overall Objective

To provide you with theoretical and practical knowledge in the techniques of fibre counting of asbestos air samples, using phase-contrast microscopy (PCM). 


  1. Setting up of microscope 
  2. Filter preparation, fibre counting and set up of air sampling equipment 
  3. Calculation of results, quality control, reporting and communication 
  4. Practical work 


You are required to pass three mandatory components: 

  • Formative practical assessment 
  • Written Theory examination (WT)
  • Microscope practical examination 


BOHS provides: 

  • A comprehensive Student Manual, which covers the full range of subject areas included in the qualification 
  • A support pack for tutors which provides sample examination questions and guidance on the written examinations 

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