If you have the responsibility for repair and maintenance of premises you must identify asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and ensure that they are properly maintained. This duty is described in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR). Although CAR came into force in 2012 the responsibility to identify and manage ACMs was first communicated in legislation in 2002.
It still seems quite common for companies to have made a start with CAR but have not followed it through. One particular company had identified the need for an asbestos survey back in 2006 and engaged a qualified surveyor. The Surveyor highlighted all the locations where carcinogenic material could be found, equipping the company with the knowledge it needed to prevent fibres from contaminating the workplace.
However, nothing has been done and construction work was carried out later which had the potential to disturb ACMs. The HSE inspector visited and although no ACMs were known to have been disturbed, the company was prosecuted for its failure to manage the materials.
The company pleaded guilty to offences under Regulation 4 (8) (b) of CAR and was fined a total of £11,000 with costs of £1,610.
If your premises was built in or after the year 2000 you can assume it is free of ACMs but otherwise you will need to have a survey carried out.
If your Asbestos survey has found ACMs then you must implement asbestos management arrangements. You must:-
- Remove or seal up dangerous materials.
- Affix asbestos warning labels.
- Warn maintenance staff and contractors of the materials located.
- Ensure that work does not disturb ACMs.
- Monitor the condition on an ongoing basis.
Remember to keep records of your routine inspections.