Fines for Poor Asbestos Management: Will Your Company be Next?
The duty to manage asbestos is contained within Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. If you own, maintain or repair a building, then as the owner, you are responsible for the duty under Regulation 4. But in practical terms, how should you go about managing asbestos in your workplace?
7 Tips for Managing Asbestos in Your Workplace:
- Start with a management survey, which should be carried out by a UKAS accredited company. The survey should state the location and condition of known, or presumed, asbestos containing materials (ACMs). If you are going to demolish or refurbish your premises, then you will need a demolition or refurbishment survey, which will involve destructive inspection.
- Now assess the risk of exposure, taking into account tenants, contractors, cleaners, maintenance personnel and others, e.g. the emergency services. From this, you can develop and implement your management plan, which should set out how you intend to carry out your control measures so that persons are not exposed. Prioritise your actions and write them in an action plan.
- You will need to think about how you will carry out checks for any damage or deterioration. Damaged or deteriorated ACMs must be repaired, removed or isolated to prevent exposure to released fibres. If ACMs need to be sealed, encapsulated or removed, you will need to employ a licensed contractor if the materials are high risk, e.g. asbestos insulation panels. If the materials are low risk, e.g. asbestos cement, then an unlicensed but competent contractor may carry out this work.
- Aim to prevent all unintentional disturbance of ACMs by having clearly defined procedures. Don’t forget to include emergencies. Appoint a responsible person, who is competent, to oversee the management of asbestos. List workers who may be affected by asbestos and stipulate the training requirements for each group.
- Control access to the premises and ensure that work in areas where ACMs are present cannot start without a Permit to Work. Maintenance staff and contractors should know your rules about ACMs and how to work safely on or adjacent to them.
- If ACMs are accidentally disturbed, you must log the incident.
- Review your management plan at least every 12 months by carrying out visual inspections for damage, reviewing the incident log.
Remember: the duty to manage is all about putting in place practical steps to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. Avoid costly fines and review your procedures today.
Contact us should you require advice.