Business Asbestos Requirements
There are two aspects to consider with asbestos.
The first is, are you a dutyholder which means you are responsible for a building and workers within.
Secondly is your work likely to disturb the fabric of a building.
Asbestos Requirements – Asbestos at work
There are two areas to consider with asbestos and health and safety. One is around your premises and the management of buildings, and the other is if you are likely to disturb asbestos as part of your work. Asbestos is the biggest industrial killer in the UK taking lives of over 5000 people per year.
Asbestos Requirements – Asbestos in your premises
If you are the owner or have responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises then you have a duty to manage asbestos in the building so that people are not exposed to asbestos.
The duty to manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012.
How do you comply with regulation 4 of the CAR 2012?
Regulation 4 requires the ‘duty holder’ to manage the risks from the presence of asbestos. This is called ‘The Duty to Manage’. The duty holder is normally the person who has the responsibility for maintenance and repair or who controls access, whether the premises are occupied or vacant.
There are a number of steps or actions which are required in order to fully comply with this duty.
1. Take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in; (Usually in the form of an asbestos management survey)
2. Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not;
3. Make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos; (As a minimum, all identified asbestos containing materials should be reinspected annually to check their condition has not changed).
4. Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified. (These are usually referred to as priority risk assessments. These assessments are required to assess the risk of persons being exposed to asbestos fibre from the materials identified within the non domestic property. These assessments form the basis of putting together an action plan on how the risks from the asbestos containing materials are going to be managed and in what priority order).
5. Prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed; (Utilising the information within the priority risk assessments the duty holder must prepare a written plan on how the risk from the asbestos materials will be managed).
6. Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action; (The duty holder must ensure that the written plan is put into action).
7. Periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date; (As part of the on-going management process the plan must be reviewed every six months to ensure the plan is effectively working. Any amendments to the plan must be updated).
8. Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them. (The duty holder has a legal obligation to provide information of the location and condition of asbestos containing materials to any person working within their premises).
What premises are affected by asbestos requirements?
The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises. Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings e.g. factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
Non-domestic premises also include those ‘common’ areas of certain domestic premises: communal staircases, corridors, external areas, bin cupboards etc.
Potential to disturb asbestos as part of your work
If you plan to undertake works or your work consists of disturbing the fabric of buildings in buildings built before 2000 e.g. carrying our refurbishment works then you have a duty to carry out an assessment to identify if asbestos is present. This is written into the asbestos regulation’s under regulation 5 “identification of the presence of asbestos”:
Regulation 5 says: An employer shall not undertake work in demolition, maintenance, or any work which exposes or is liable to expose his employees to asbestos, in respect of any premises, unless he has carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos is liable to be present. This assessment is usually (but not always) in the form of an asbestos survey.
Regulation 4 requires such an assessment to be made for non-domestic premises and this should be carried out by the ‘duty holder’.
Regulation 5 requires such an assessment to be made for all premises (including domestic) and this should be carried out by the ‘employer’.
An employer must make an assessment to determine if asbestos materials will be disturbed, within any building built prior to 2000, before commencing works. This covers all non domestic properties and all domestic properties.
How do you comply with Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012?
Usually, the best assessment is an asbestos refurbishment or demolition survey undertaken by a UKAS accredited company. The survey intrusively inspects and samples suspect items to then test for the presence of asbestos fibres.
Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK with over 5000 different products thought to contain asbestos. Asbestos can be found within any building constructed before 2000.
Do you need help with complying with the asbestos law UK?
Like many businesses, a lot do not have the competence in house or do not want to undertake this task themselves. You see a lot of employers don’t have the right skillset themselves or do not have the time because running a business itself is a mammoth task let alone dealing with all the intricacies of health and safety.
This is where sourcing the right help can be a weight lifted off your shoulders. But like anything it must be undertaken as a buyer beware exercise. There are lots of health and safety advisors and consultants in the marketplace, but you need to ensure you find the right one for you.
As an employer, managing health and safety is still your legal duty, so you need to find a company that understands you and your company.
Our team of consultants all have different disciplines so we will have the right fit for you and be able to meet your needs. We can prove competence and be able to help you meet the Government’s stringent laws.
If you want to chat through this or any service more then book a call today with one of our health and safety consultants.
Book your FREE health and safety review surgery with our Health and Safety expert John Crockett IMaPS, SIIRSM RSP, ACIOB.
This is a free 30-minute video call where you get the opportunity to discuss and diagnose any current health and safety compliance issues.