Asbestos is a hazardous material and must be managed in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Failure to comply with this legislation can carry serious consequences, including heavy fines, damage to your business’ reputation and even prison sentences for those responsible.
In February, a contractor in Manchester was jailed for 24 weeks when he ignored the results of a survey that identified 230 square metres of asbestos on the site he was hired to demolish. Instead of having a licensed asbestos contractor remove the material, he started the demolition and risked the health of three employees and local residents before a member of the public notified the Health and Safety Executive of the situation.
Earlier, in December, HSE fined an Essex-based company and its sub-tenant a total of £215,000 after they neglected to act on a known asbestos risk for over seven years, endangering workers’ health. Their position was made worse when the sub-tenant completed its own asbestos survey and failed to arrange the asbestos’ removal while the companies debated responsibility.
To prevent similar incidents from damaging your own business, it is vital to understand how asbestos legislation relates to you.
Am I responsible for asbestos safety?
According to current legislation, owners and occupiers of commercial properties have a ‘duty to manage’ asbestos in a safe and controlled manner. In the case of some on-site work, it is the contractor rather than the owner who assumes this duty, such as if the contractor has some degree of control over a site, is knowingly carrying out work that disturbs asbestos or is working in a domestic property.
What does a ‘duty to manage’ involve?
The duty holder must:
- Take reasonable steps to find out if there is any asbestos on the premises, where it is and what condition it is in.
- Keep up-to-date records of the location and condition of any asbestos.
- Ensure that anyone who might disturb the asbestos is aware of its location and condition.
- Assess the risk posed by any asbestos, and execute a regularly reviewed asbestos management plan to keep people safe.
How can Check Environmental help?
We offer a comprehensive suite of services to help duty holders fulfil their responsibilities. As well as providing asbestos surveys and analysis, we offer licensed and accredited asbestos management support to ensure any on-site material is properly risk assessed and dealt with.
To enquire about any of our services you can contact a member of our team on 01482 668221 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org