The Health and Safety Executive is notching up prosecutions under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 so is timely to remind ourselves what needs to be done to comply.
Regulation 4 requires persons (including corporate bodies such as companies) who have control of or repairing obligations in respect of places of work (such as owners or tenants with repairing covenants) to do their best to find out whether asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are at their premises. If there are, they must make, and then keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of those materials. They must also put in place a plan to manage them so that nobody is exposed accidentally.
The management plan is critical. It must be regularly reviewed and information about must be provided to anyone who is or could come into contact with, or work within the vicinity of, asbestos or ACMs.
Management plans do not have to be lengthy or complicated. They must, though, be understandable, workable, visible, up to date and, of course, acted upon.
Not all asbestos or ACMs identified have to be removed from work premises. If they are in good repair, unlikely to be disturbed and are managed properly, it could be more hazardous to remove them than to leave them where they are.
But you can only manage asbestos effectively if you are aware of its presence. For that reason, anyone to whom regulation 4 applies should arrange for an asbestos survey to be carried out. The survey should not be carried out as a sterile and bureaucratic exercise; its purpose is to inform how identified material should safely be managed.
The HSE provides useful information on their website.