Asbestos is a focus for the HSE with increasing numbers of people still being affected by exposure to asbestos containing materials.
Generally, buildings constructed post 2000 should not have asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) within them and the rules will not apply unless you have older machinery with ACM’s in the property. Therefore, buildings built before this period are likely to contain ACM’s and consideration of how to control asbestos will be required.
Who has a duty to manage?
The person or organisation who has the main responsibility for maintenance or repair of the building will typically be the person required to manage asbestos within the property. If a tenancy agreement is in place, it could be the Landlord who has the responsibility, however the terms of the tenancy agreement would need to be carefully checked.
How to find if asbestos is present in your building
Asbestos can be found in many locations within buildings, commonly combined into material products and can include: loose fill insulation, sprayed coatings, pipe and boiler insulation, asbestos insulation board, asbestos cement, textiles and gaskets, textured decorative coatings and floor tiles.
An asbestos survey will be required to determine the location of ACMs within the building. You will not be able to check visually. If you are considering refurbishment or demolition of the building, a more intrusive survey will be required than just a management survey.
If your building has an existing asbestos survey, you should consult this document to determine the presence of asbestos. Remember: if the Surveyor did not have access to parts of the building, this location should be considered as containing asbestos materials.
A plan should be drawn up which identifies details of those who are responsible, what documents are available, details of expected routine checks, and a procedure to be in place to prevent inadvertent disturbance.
Any works undertaken in the building likely to disturb asbestos will need to have a suitable risk assessment and safe system of work to ensure adequate controls are in place before the work commences. A copy of the asbestos survey should also be to hand. It is important these documents are communicated to relevant parties undertaking the work and those who have responsibility for the management of asbestos within the building.
The first level of training for your staff is asbestos awareness and is recommended to staff who may be exposed to ACMs. Management training is also available for those with a duty to control asbestos in the property.
Asbestos removal must be undertaken by specialist contractors who have appropriate enhanced training.
Please be aware the management plan is a ‘live document’ and should be updated at least every 12 months, or whenever something material changes. When changes do occur, we recommend this is recommunicated with your staff.
If you need our help, please get in touch with our team on 01302 346 813.
By Richard Wadkin CMIOSH IMaPs – Risk Consultant