How Do I Manage Asbestos?
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 to manage those materials.
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. Why is there a duty to manage? Simply put, the law is there to force those in control of buildings to protect persons within the buildings from asbestos. Asbestos is still the biggest industrial killer in the UK with around 5000 people dying every year.
So how do you go about this? 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.
To manage asbestos you need a written plan. This can be done by yourself or companies such as R B Asbestos Consultants. The following questions/items should form part of the 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 management plan. The plan in effect should be a ‘live document’ that reflects the ongoing changes within a building.
If you need advice then please call 0800 141 2676.
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