Most people feel that once they have an asbestos survey their responsibility has ended, box ticked. However, there is more to fully comply with the Asbestos Regulations, but this does not need to be a daunting prospect (or expensive).
We will walk you through the key steps to achieve compliance and some of the options available to you.
Step 1 – Find out if there are materials that contain asbestos.
In our infographic we have ‘Surveys’ next to it, but there are other options to consider first. Building age is the most important, if your building was built after the year 2000 then it should not contain asbestos and therefore you will not require a survey. You should still note this in your asbestos management plan and include the property in your portfolio register. Even if the building was built pre 2000, building records may confirm that asbestos was not used in its construction, a lot of specifications leading up to this date do clearly specify this requirement. Again, make a note in your management plan and store the evidence.
Failing the above, you will need to carry out an asbestos survey.
[* See our article ‘When is an Asbestos Survey not a Survey?’ for more thoughts and advice]
Step 2 – Make, and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of any asbestos containing materials.
Following the survey, a register of all asbestos containing materials and areas that were not fully accessed should be produced. The asbestos register is your ongoing ‘Live’ document that you need to be able to update, add to and make available to staff and contractors. You need to consider this when commissioning any surveys or follow on removal works, re-inspections etc.
[* See our article ‘Survey vs Register’ for more thoughts and advice]
Step 3 – Prepare a plan that details how the risks will be managed.
Again, this is a ‘Live’ document that outlines how you are going to manage the risks posed by the presence of asbestos in your buildings. As part of this process you should review any issues that have been raised through the survey process, are there any damaged materials that need remediation or removal. Other key areas are, your management structure, signing in procedures, emergency procedures, asbestos registers, approved contractors, training and reviewing the registers and management plan.
Step 4 – Provide information on the location and condition of the materials.
This is tied to your asbestos registers. How are you going to make them available to anyone liable to work on or disturb asbestos containing materials? This could be as simple as a copy of the register at the point where contractors sign in or e-mail a copy with any work requests. If you have larger properties or property portfolios, then you should consider an online system. This will give you, your staff and contractors greater visibility and flexibility. Online systems are especially useful when they allow for updates and amendments.
Step 5 – Provide adequate information, instruction and training.
You should start with your own staff, but you could also extend out to your key or approved contractors. There are various accredited courses starting with Asbestos Awareness (available to complete online), but don’t overlook bespoke training that covers your processes and systems. These could be in the form of simple toolbox talks or video clips, but what is the point of having a robust asbestos management plan if no one is aware of it or knows how to access the asbestos registers.
Step 6 – Review the management plan and registers.
Once you have your registers and asbestos management plan, it is important to review and maintain the content. You should look to monitor the condition of any identified asbestos containing materials for any deterioration or damage, record the changes and act on the findings. Similarly, with the management plan, a regular review of the content to ensure it is still relevant and up to date. If you have created a simple specific plan and have invested in an updatable asbestos register then this should not be an onerous task.
[* See our article ‘Making the Most of Asbestos Re-inspections’ for more thoughts and advice]
Follow the steps above, consider the additional advice and information to gain control of managing your asbestos.
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