Our team of asbestos experts have developed a good resource of answers to some common questions asked by our customers. If you have a question on workplace compliance, please email us at email@example.com
- Chrysotile (known as white asbestos);
- Asbestos Grunerite (known as brown asbestos); and
- Crocidolite (known as blue asbestos).
- Tremolite; and
There is no requirement to have an asbestos survey carried out. Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 states the duty is to manage asbestos not a duty to survey. However, in order to manage asbestos that may be within your building, you need to know where it is, what type of asbestos it is and importantly, what condition it is in.
If your building was built before 1999, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, there is a good chance that some materials used within construction or fit-out contain asbestos. The only way that you can be totally certain of this is by carrying out a management survey which will help you assess, prioritise and manage these materials and allow you to carry out regular assessments to ensure that they remain in good condition.
You can assume that all unknown or suspect items contain asbestos, but in a larger building, this can quickly become unmanageable.
A management survey should be carried out by an independent organisation that is not linked to any removal or remediation company so that you can be sure that any recommendations given are made to help you with effective management.
Knowing exactly where you are with your asbestos management is the key to success. This means having accurate and up to date information on all of your asbestos-containing materials (ACM).
The information you hold about asbestos must be kept up to date and made available to anyone who may work with on it or disturb it. Regular reviews and condition assessments should form an essential part of your strategy, alongside training for all relevant personnel. These are the key requirements and responsibilities of the duty-holder.
The likelihood is, if you are relying on a survey that is now years old, which has never been supported with the condition assessments, reviews and training, then your management may not be as robust as you think it is. As a starting point for you, you could check any areas that are “not assessed” or that have been excluded in your survey report.
Given the dangers that asbestos can pose to human health, it’s logical to assume that the best way to minimise the risks associated with asbestos is to remove all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) from our buildings. There is, however, no legal obligation to do so. Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations requires you to manage your asbestos but doesn’t specifically require you to remove it. Removal of asbestos poses its own risks. Disturbing ACMs increases the risk of asbestos fibres being released into the air which, if breathed in, can lead to severe harm to health many years later. On the other hand, leaving ACMs in place, if they are in good condition, poses no danger to health. T
his means that removing asbestos needs to be carried out by specialist contractors and depending on the type of ACM may require severe access restrictions to your building to be in place whilst the work is carried out with further specialist air sampling contractors being bought in to make sure that no fibres are present in the air around the removal work. This makes it a costly and time-consuming process. Asbestos waste can also only be accepted by certain waste facilities making it difficult to make sure that even lower risk ACMs can be legally disposed of. You should therefore base your decision to remove or manage your asbestos in situ on a risk assessment that considers the likelihood of your ACMs posing a risk to health in their current state.
The current Regulations (CAR2012) place a legal duty on employers to provide information, instruction and training to any of their employees who are likely to be exposed to asbestos as part of their work.
Staff who fall into this category should be aware of what asbestos is, why it is dangerous and the precautions they need to take when working in areas that contain asbestos.
Staff who are responsible for managing asbestos in your buildings should also be competent to perform this role and understand your policy, procedures and emergency measures.
There are three main types of asbestos that have previously been used:
It is often said that white asbestos is of least risk, due to the fibre shape and blue asbestos is of most risk. You cannot tell what type of asbestos is used from the colour of the finished product. White asbestos is the most common type found today as it was the last type to be banned, and was found in a wide range of products, often as a composite of different materials from cement to plaster and bitumen products.
There are also three 'lesser' known types of asbestos:
These were not generally commercially used and can be found as contaminates in other types of asbestos, with tremolite being the most common.