Asbestos management is essential. It’s no wonder. According to the Health and Safety Executive, asbestos-related illnesses kill around 5,000 workers each year.
More people die each year from exposure to asbestos than are killed on Britain’s roads.
So, finding asbestos in a building you manage or own can be a worry. But what are your legal obligations when it comes to asbestos management and how can you keep yourself and your colleagues safe if your building is found to have asbestos in it?
Dispelling the asbestos rumours
Finding asbestos isn’t dangerous. For years, builders have used asbestos as a bona fide building material, lending its strength to other weaker but useful substances, such as concrete.
Asbestos in your property only becomes a risk to health if it’s disturbed.
The risk comes from the soft and flexible asbestos fibres when they are released into the air. If these are inhaled, they can become trapped in the body, causing diseases such as Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and Asbestosis.
So, finding asbestos isn’t a problem in itself. However, once you’re aware of the possibility of asbestos being present, you’re then under a legal obligation to manage the risks.
Who is responsible for managing risk after finding asbestos in your property?
Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos 2012 Regulations places responsibilities on the person who owns the premises, or the person with a clear responsibility to maintain and keep the premises.
Asbestos management in line with the Control of Asbestos 2012 Regulations
- Take reasonable steps to identify materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises. If you’re not sure, assume that asbestos is present, until you have evidence otherwise.
- Keep an up-to-date record of the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials (or those presumed to contain asbestos).
- Assess the risk of those who work in the vicinity of that material, or those who could be expected to be working in that vicinity.
- Establish a process to manage the risk from asbestos.
- Follow the plan that is regularly reviewed and ensure those around you are also aware of the plan and follow it.
- Ensure the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials is revealed to anyone likely to work on or disturb them.
The approach you take to asbestos management is critical but never attempt asbestos removal yourself. If you suspect that you may have asbestos-containing materials in your property, contact asbestos management and removal specialists such as Rainbow International who will be able to conduct a full risk assessment of the site.
Rainbow has specialist teams across the country, trained in asbestos removal. From conducting an initial survey to applying for any licences and setting up exclusion zones, Rainbow will take care of your asbestos removal from start to finish.
If you believe you have asbestos-containing material on site or, to arrange for one of our technicians to visit you, call 01623 422488.