The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) advises that owners and managers of properties – commercial properties, hospitals, schools, factories – constructed prior to the year 2000 are responsible for ensuring that employees and non-employees are not exposed to health risks as a result of asbestos.
Asbestos is a hidden danger as asbestos containing materials could be found in numerous places within a building, such as pipe lagging, insulation board, vinyl floor tiles and cement. Being aware of where asbestos can be found, and how to manage the risks, is vital to reducing the Health risks faced by workers and the public.
Specifically relating to managing and working with asbestos is the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012). Within this, Regulation 10 requires employers to make sure that anyone liable to disturb asbestos during their work, or who supervises such employees, receives the correct level of information, instruction and training to enable them to carry out their work safely and competently, and without risk to themselves or others. Asbestos awareness training should be given to employees whose work could foreseeably disturb the fabric of the building and expose them to asbestos or supervise or influence the work, such as maintenance staff, electricians and building surveyors.
Regulation 4 of CAR 2012 covers the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic properties (e.g. factories, shops, offices, hospital and schools) and the common parts of domestic premises (e.g. roof space, corridors, boiler rooms). It requires duty holders to identify the location and condition of asbestos, and to manage the risk to prevent harm to anyone who works on the building or to building occupants.
An asbestos survey ensures a thorough inspection of premises. The duty holder should ensure that an assessment of the potential risk from ACMs is made and prepare a management plan, setting out how the risks will be managed, and ensure it is implemented.
A record, along with a drawing of the premises, should be created containing details of the location of ACMs, and condition and forms. This record, usually referred to as an asbestos register, should also be dated, as periodic reviews should be carried out, so an up-to-date record is available.
The duty holder should ensure that the asbestos register is shared with workers who are going to carry out work on/in the premises, and work should only start once the duty holder is satisfied that the information in the asbestos register is known and understood by the workers. Also, the asbestos register should be easily accessible for anyone who needs to inspect it.
A duty holder/client has explicit responsibilities under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), and if asbestos removal is required, appoint a competent asbestos removal contractor.
ARCA has produced guidance documents which are available to download in the clients’ section at www.arca.org.uk