Asbestos is still a killer - one fibre is enough to
kill you or your staff or anyone coming to your premises. Asbestos
has been used as an insulation material, and as a binder or composite
in almost every building material at some time. Amphibole type asbestos
was banned from importation and use in 1984. However, Chrysotile
wasn't banned from importation or use until 1997 although a voluntary
ban was effective from 1989! Old stocks of material and contaminated
production machinery have been found to be used much later than
The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 are expected
to come in to force towards the end of this year to replace the
old and much amended Asbestos at Work Regulations 1989. It
reinforces the duties that all Employers already have under the
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the "Management Regulations
1992" to manage asbestos wherever it occurs in the workplace,
whether it be in the Employer's own premises or elsewhere where
work is being carried out by their staff. In line with the latest
generation of the Health and Safety Regulations, the duty
is placed upon the Employer to identify and then to manage
asbestos containing material (ACM's), but the Regulations do not
proscribe how this is to be done.
The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations state that the
existence of ACM's should be properly recorded and records
updated accordingly and the best way to achieve this is to set up
a Register for their premises and other workplaces, following
an inspection of them by a competent person.
Naturally, Employers are going to be bombarded by many Company's
offering to set up a Register for them ready for the new Regulations
to come into force. However, before you accept one of the
many tempting offers to 'get some red tape off your desk',
you need to ensure that the person carrying out the work is competent
under the new regulations and I recommend that you also ensure
that in addition to preparing the Register, they make plans
to manage ALL ACM's working towards their eventual removal.
Three levels of inspection are recommended:
Type 1: Register will list materials presumed or strongly
presumed likely to contain asbestos based upon a visual inspection.
Type 2: Register will list ALL materials tested following
sample testing of all materials which are suspected to contain asbestos.
Type 3: As Type 2 but Samples of every material found in
the building, with all parts of the building opened up.
Types One and Two rely upon a full inspection including
inspections into as many accessible voids and spaces built into
the building as possible. They also rely upon the inspector being
competent as described in MDHS 100 and having the expertise
and experience to know which materials may contain asbestos. A properly
experienced and qualified person will also be able to provide advice
in the context of the maintenance and repair requirements of the
building, so as well as getting a Register, you will also get advice
upon managing the material in conjunction with other work to
the building. Type Three inspections have been commonly known
as destructive surveys and are more appropriate prior to demolition
or major refurbishment of a building.
Before appointing a Consultant to help you meet the Regulations
- Is the person doing the work competent - have they got the proper
experience and qualifications?
- Are they Regulated?
- What guidelines do they follow for this work?
- What level of survey will they recommend?
Philip Newman MRICS is a building surveying consultancy
operating from the heart of East Hampshire and covering the whole
of Southern England, dealing mainly with commercial and industrial
buildings. From August they will provide a Chartered Building
Surveyor who is also one of the most competent and qualified
Asbestos Inspectors who will be able to advise upon the appropriate
type of inspection, inspect and set up the Register, and to advise
upon the management of asbestos in the context of the overall management
of the building structures and fabric.