Blog: Asbestos Compliance - Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more about your asbestos compliance responsibilities? Have a read of our frequently asked questions.
Do I need to have an asbestos survey to be compliant with asbestos regulations?
If you own or manage a commercial property, you may be responsible for managing any asbestos on the property. This responsibility is often based on an explicit agreement, such as a tenancy agreement or management contract.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) set out the responsibilities of managing asbestos in any non-domestic property or premises. These regulations state that you need to identify if asbestos is present and provide a written asbestos management plan to ensure any potential risks are suitably managed. An asbestos management survey is the best way to identify if there is asbestos present, where it is and what risk it poses.
To ensure asbestos compliance what needs to be included in the asbestos survey?
Asbestos surveys will identify all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) across the site and often include photographs of suspect ACMs and indications of where they are on property plans. Suspect materials will get sent off for testing. Finally an asbestos register and material risk assessment will be provided, along with detailed recommendations for managing or removing ACMs.
Do I have to automatically have asbestos removed?
This depends on the condition and location of the asbestos. All ACMs are added to an ACM register and scored based on the type of material, its condition, ease of disturbance and human exposure potential. These factors then provide a material and a priority score, which help determine the next actions.
If it is in good condition and in a position where it is unlikely to be accidentally damaged, it may be better to manage it as opposed to removing it. Asbestos only poses a risk when the material is disturbed or broken, releasing hazardous dust.
Asbestos should be completely removed as soon as possible if it is in an area where it could become damaged or if deterioration would prove to be a hazard to the building's occupants.
Do I have to close the building immediately if asbestos is found?
When asbestos is found each case is treated individually and recommendations are based on the material and priority scores (see above). Your asbestos survey report will include recommendations regarding how to manage the asbestos safely and ensure compliance with HSE regulations. If the asbestos is in bad condition or damaged and there is risk to its occupants, it is likely that the recommendation would be to close the building.
Who is able to remove asbestos safely?
In the UK asbestos is classified as a category 1 carcinogen, with asbestos related disease causing around 5000 deaths every year. The HSE therefore tightly controls any work with asbestos and implements a licensing system to achieve this.
Working with asbestos is categorised in three ways:
• Notifiable non-licensed
The classification of asbestos affects both the preventative methods taken to control it and the qualifications needed by contractors to remove it.
Licensable asbestos containing materials: The removal of asbestos that involves significant hazard, risk or public concern must be carried out by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Non-licensed and notifiable non-licensed (NNLW) asbestos containing materials: All non-licensed and notifiable non-licensed asbestos work must be carried out by people with the correct level of knowledge and training to ensure asbestos compliance. They must also have the appropriate controls in place to protect themselves (and others in the area) from the health risks caused by asbestos exposure.
A thorough risk assessment is required to determine the type of ACM and the type of asbestos removal needed. It is recommended that all asbestos removal is handled by a specialist asbestos consultant or contractor.
If not removed, do I need to get my ACMs regularly checked to ensure asbestos regulatory compliance?
If ACMs are identified at your property but do not need to be removed, you are then obligated under The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 to carry out re-inspections of each ACM on a regular basis. Asbestos re-inspection surveys are usually annually, but this can depend on the type of ACM, its location and condition.