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The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 approved code of practice document, Managing and working with Asbestos (L143) second edition, require employers to prevent the exposure of employees to asbestos. If this is not reasonably practicable the law says their exposure should be controlled to the lowest possible level. Before any work with asbestos is carried out, the Regulations require employers to make an assessment of the likely exposure of employees to asbestos dust. The assessment should include a description of the precautions which are to be taken to control dust release and to protect workers and others who may be affected by that work. If you are employing a contractor to work in your building make sure that either the work will not lead to asbestos exposures or that they have carried out this assessment and identified work practices to reduce exposures.

The Construction (Design Management) Regulations 2015 (L153), require the client to provide the planning supervisor with information about the project which is relevant to health and safety. This information might, for instance, include previous surveys of the building for asbestos. Not all projects come within the scope of these Regulations. For more information see the CDM Regulations leaflet.

Asbestos Surveys

ASBESTOS INSULATION DEBRIS ON STEEL JOIST An asbestos survey will highlight the location and types of asbestos materials present in a property. The survey will include an assessment of the condition and extent of those materials and provide recommendations on how those materials can be managed and on any action which needs to be taken. The undertaking of asbestos analysis requires extensive training and should only be carried out by an accredited analytical laboratory. The accreditation is provided by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) who employ strict regimes for assessing the technical quality and validity of analytical techniques used by laboratories.

The type of information produced by a survey is invaluable for managers who need to comply with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 approved code of practice document, Managing and working with Asbestos (L143) second edition.

What should workers do?

ASBESTOS INSULATION BOARD UNDERSTAIRSAny asbestos materials on site should have been identified before work. Ask 'Has the site been checked for asbestos?'. If asbestos has been identified and you are likely to come into contact with it, get advice from those in charge before you start work.

If you uncover any hidden material or dust which you suspect may contain asbestos, stop work and get advice. If it has not been checked for asbestos, and those in charge of the job decide not to have it tested, assume that it contains asbestos.

Always be especially careful when working with old insulation board, ceiling tiles, cement sheeting and other material which may contain asbestos. If you have to drill, cut, sand or handle these materials, treat them as if they contained asbestos. Remember, asbestos cement roofs are fragile - don't walk on them. Never strip out asbestos insulation yourself. The law requires a specialist contractor to do this to strict rules.

What should those in charge of work do?

  • Assess the risks to health from any work which is being planned, and decide what precautions need to be taken to protect those undertaking the work.

  • Give information, instruction and training to those personnel so that they are made aware of the risks and the precautions which should be taken

  • Call in specialist licensed contractors if asbestos insulation material has to be removed or if major disturbance to asbestos material is necessary

  • Issue suitable masks (respirators) when necessary, ensure that users know how to wear it correctly, and explain why it is needed

  • Issue protective clothing where your work is likely to result in asbestos dust getting onto your clothes

  • Provide adequate washing facilities and suitable places for eating and drinking

  • Dispose of waste containing asbestos properly

  • Let staff know the results of any measurement of asbestos dust in the air in their work area