Employers of building maintenance and repair workers are required to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking any work which exposes, or is liable to expose, employees to asbestos. They must take the appropriate steps required by the Asbestos Regulations to prevent or reduce these risks.
However, in many cases, the employers and their workers have little or no information about the premises where they are going to undertake work, and are not aware if asbestos containing materials are present. Consequently, it is difficult for them to consider the risks, or if precautions may be needed.
A duty to manage the risk from asbestos in non-domestic premises was therefore added to the Control of Asbestos at work Regulations in 2002 to address this. These requirements have since been brought forward unchanged in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 as Regulation 4.
Those who own, occupy, manage or have responsibilities for premises that may contain asbestos, will either have:
- A legal duty to manage the risk from asbestos material; or
- A legal duty to co-operate with whoever manages that risk
They will be required to manage the risk from asbestos by:
- Finding out if there is asbestos in the premises, its extent and what condition it is in;
- Presuming the materials contain asbestos, unless you have strong evidence that they do not;
- Making and keeping up to date a record of the location and condition of the ACM’s or presumed ACM’s in their premises;
- Assessing the risk from the material
- Preparing a plan that sets out in detail how they are going to manage the risk from this material
- Taking the steps needed to put their plan into action
- Reviewing and monitoring their plan and the arrangements made to put it in place; and
- Providing information on the location and condition of the material to anyone who is liable to work or disturb it.
In the United Kingdom, work on asbestos has by law to be carried out by a contractor who holds a licence under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, although there are exceptions. Normally, non-licensed work includes work on asbestos-containing textured coatings, asbestos cement and certain work of short duration on asbestos insulating board.
The duties imposed by regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 supplement the provisions of some of the duties imposed by other sets of regulations, in particular the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 which require the client to provide designers and contractors who may be bidding for the work or who they intend to engage, with the project’s specific health and safety information needed to identify hazards and risks associated with the design and construction work.
Asbestos awareness training is a legal requirement for most employees and supervisors working in the construction industry. In addition to initial training, the Approved Code of Practice which accompanies the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 also states that refresher training should be given at least every year. Therefore, there is an ongoing annual legal requirement for refresher training to be carried out for the identified employees.
ARCA is the leading supplier of asbestos awareness training aimed at building and maintenance workers. To find out more or to arrange a no obligation meeting to discuss your employees asbestos awareness training needs please contact ARCA on 01283 531126.