Advice on creating an asbestos management plan
Last Updated on 10 October 2023
Duty holders must ensure an asbestos management plan is in place
Does the building you own, control or maintain have asbestos containing materials within it? If so you have a ‘legal duty’ under The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) to manage those materials and have an asbestos management plan in place.
If you are a large organisation you probably have the resources to solve the issue. If you are a small organisation this can be more difficult.
In summary, the CAR 2012’s primary provisions are as follows:-
- a provision that companies educate staff members on the dangers of asbestos and how to handle it safely, as well as provide them with the necessary information, instruction, and training.
- companies have a responsibility to create a written plan describing the steps they will take to control asbestos in their workplace.
- a requirement that employers select a qualified individual to manage asbestos risks.
- companies must inform the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of any work that could disturb asbestos.
- a stipulation requiring employers to maintain records of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in their workplace and to inform everyone who might work on or near those ACMs of their existence.
- a requirement that businesses evaluate the skills of employees working in asbestos work.
All employers, independent contractors, and other people who have authority over non-domestic buildings in the UK are subject to CAR 2012.
Contractors and maintenance personnel who perform work on non-domestic premises are likewise subject to the regulations.
Why is there a duty to manage asbestos?
Due to its strength, durability, and resistance to heat and chemical deterioration, asbestos was frequently utilised in building materials in the past.
However, asbestos fibres that are inhaled have the potential to become lodged in the lungs and result in major health issues. Serious illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos include asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, so there is a responsibility to manage asbestos in the workplace.
Asbestos is still the biggest industrial killer in the UK with around 5000 people dying every year.
Therefore, simply put, the law is there to force those in control of buildings to protect persons within the buildings from asbestos, hence the ‘Duty to manage asbestos‘.
So how do you go about managing asbestos on your premises? A good starting point is to determine the cost of having the asbestos removed appropriately. If the long term costs of managing asbestos are likely to be greater than the costs of removal, then the choice should be simple.
If you plan to sell a property containing asbestos then be prepared for the ‘issue’ potentially interfering with the sales process. Lenders and purchasers can be dissuaded from purchasing by asbestos materials being present within a property.
Create an asbestos management plan
To manage asbestos and ensure you are complying with UK regulations, you need a written management plan. This can be done by yourself or companies such as RB Asbestos Consultants. The following questions/items should form part of your management plan:-
- Is the existing asbestos register or survey up to date and adequately reflects the situation in the property?
- Are the asbestos containing materials in a safe condition?
- Are the materials labelled appropriately?
- Whom will be in charge of the management process as they will need some training?
- Inform staff as to the presence of asbestos in their work areas.
- Where will the asbestos information be kept? (it needs to be accessible, particularly for contractors and maintenance personnel)
- Ensure there is a ‘permit to work’ system implemented and all contractors are vetted and signed in.
- Ensure all contractors are appropriately asbestos awareness trained. If they are not then they shouldn’t be working on your site.
- If works to the property are required that go beyond basic maintenance, ensure a ‘Refurbishment/Demolition’ asbestos survey is carried out.
- Have a plan in place for when ACM’s become damaged.
- Ensure ACM’s are regularly monitored and at least inspected annually by a competent person.
These are the cornerstones of a decent asbestos management plan. The plan in effect should be a ‘live document’ that reflects the ongoing changes within a building. So it needs to be kept up to date and reviewed every 12 months.
Get in touch for help with managing asbestos
If you need any advice at all on creating an asbestos management plan for your property then please call 0800 141 2676.
We help all types of organisations from Charities, Housing Associations right up to UK and international companies.
Or alternatively, click on the following link to arrange an asbestos management plan at your convenience.