14 February 2019
The legal ‘duty to manage’ asbestos within buildings requires addressing a number of elements, from asbestos surveying to policies and procedures, assignation of roles and responsibilities and even the monitoring and reviewing of any known asbestos materials (and a plan for managing the risks associated with these materials). Collectively these intertwined arrangements form the organisation’s Asbestos Management System.
With specific regard to asbestos monitoring/reviewing, Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 states adequate measures must be in place for monitoring the condition of (and maintaining) any asbestos ‘at regular intervals’. The HSE advise asbestos plans should be reviewed ‘at least every six months’.
A proper programme should be in place to monitor and review the overall asbestos management system, the ‘plan’ for dealing with known asbestos and inspecting the condition of asbestos materials. Consideration should be given to the risk level associated with each item. For example, a higher risk substance such as asbestos insulating board (AIB) in a busy thoroughfare might warrant monthly inspection whereas lower risk asbestos vinyl tiles (AVT) in a rarely used store-room might only require inspection every two years.
The key here, as with all asbestos management principles, is the use of a risk-based approach to determine the optimum course of action for each situation. Whether this relates to a review of policies, procedures, action plans or known asbestos materials, a sound understanding of the real risks (as opposed to the commonly believed perceived risks) is essential.
For help or advice on asbestos management systems or condition monitoring, contact ACS direct.