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Managing Asbestos. Gary Whittaker Director Risk World Associates Limited. Objective. To introduce you to: the changes in the law on asbestos which introduce the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises; and the supporting implementation campaign. Summary. Part 1: Setting the scene

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managing asbestos

Managing Asbestos

Gary Whittaker


Risk World Associates Limited


To introduce you to:

  • the changes in the law on asbestos which introduce the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises; and
  • the supporting implementation campaign.
  • Part 1: Setting the scene
  • Part 2: The duty to manage asbestos
  • Part 3: The implementation campaign
part 1
Part 1

Setting the scene

what is asbestos
What is asbestos?
  • Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral.
  • Three most common found types:
    • crocidolite (‘blue asbestos’);
    • amosite (‘brown asbestos’);
    • chrysotile (‘white asbestos’).
  • Has many uses:
    • fireproofing;
    • insulation.
  • But can be deadly.
why is asbestos harmful
Why is asbestos harmful?
  • Asbestos in good condition and undisturbed poses no risk to health.
  • When disturbed it can break down into sharp fibres and be breathed in.
  • The fibres lodge in the lungs and do not dissolve.
  • Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to three main diseases:
    • asbestosis;
    • lung cancer;
    • mesothelioma.
why is it still a problem
Why is it still a problem?
  • Over 3000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases.
  • Number will rise until 2011.
  • Working conditions are now much improved.
  • No one can be sure just how quickly the numbers are going to diminish.
why is it still a problem continued
Why is it still a problem? (continued)
  • Between 1950s and 1980s asbestos used extensively in UK as building material.
  • Thousands of tonnes of asbestos still remaining in buildings.
  • About half a million non-domestic premises may contain asbestos.
which premises could contain asbestos
Which premises could contain asbestos?
  • Answer… any type (pre-2000).
    • Shops.
    • Factories.
    • Offices.
    • Farms.
    • Hospitals.
    • Domestic premises.
where do you find asbestos in premises
Where do you find asbestos in premises?

Boiler vessels and pipework


Cladding to column

Domestic appliances

Flooring material

Interior walls and panels

Lining to lift door

Roof and exterior walls

Service risers


examples of asbestos containing materials acms
Examples of asbestos- containing materials (ACMs)
  • Sprayed coatings.
  • Lagging material.
  • Insulating board.
  • Ceiling tiles.
  • Textiles and ropes.
  • Paper, felts and cardboard.
  • Asbestos cement.
  • Decorative textural coatings.
  • Vinyl floor covering and plastic products.
who is at risk and why
Who is at risk and why?
  • 25% of people now dying from asbestos-related diseases once worked in the building and maintenance trades.
  • They may have been exposed to asbestos, (often unknowingly) by cutting, drilling and sawing into ACMs.
  • Previous regulations did not cover those people who could come into contact with asbestos unknowingly.
who are these people
Heating and ventilation engineers.

Roofing contractors.

Fire and burglar alarm installers.

General maintenance staff.



Carpenters and joiners.


Gas fitters.

Cable layers.

Demolition workers.

Painters and decorators.

Who are these people?
what had been done already
What had been done already?
  • 1998: Amendment of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR):
    • expanded their scope to cover incidental exposures to asbestos; and
    • made it clear that CAWR applied to all workers who might come into contact with asbestos.
  • 1998: Amendment to the Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations.
  • 1999: Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations.
a piece of the jigsaw was missing
A piece of the jigsaw was missing
  • Contractors not aware that they were working on materials containing asbestos.
  • No one was managing the risk from asbestos in premises.
part 2
Part 2

The duty to manage asbestos

a new duty to manage asbestos
A new duty to manage asbestos
  • Introduced as a new regulation in the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR) 2002:
    • to assess whether premises contain asbestos;
    • to assess risk from asbestos; and
    • to take action to manage the risk
  • The duty will greatly contribute to reducing fatalities by 4700 this century.
who has the duty
Who has the duty?
  • Those with a contractual obligation in relation to maintenance and/or repair of premises – could include owners, occupiers, managing agents and others.
  • Person ‘in control’ where no contract or tenancy agreement exists.
  • Every person shall cooperate with duty holders to enable them to comply with their duties.
where does the duty apply
Where does the duty apply?
  • All non-domestic premises.
  • The common parts of domestic premises.
  • Doesn’t apply to domestic premises themselves.
assessing whether premises contain asbestos
Assessing whether premises contain asbestos
  • Take reasonable steps to identify ACMs in premises by:
    • looking at building plans etc.;
    • consulting others, eg architects, employees; and
    • carrying out a thorough inspection of the premises.
  • Assess the condition of these materials.
  • Record the findings.
  • Can be carried out in-house or by a specialist surveyor.
identifying asbestos
Identifying asbestos
  • Presume asbestos.
  • Establish identity by sampling.


  • Conclude it is not asbestos (requires strong evidence).


  • A combination of all of the above.
assessing the risk decisions
Assessing the risk: Decisions
  • Assess the risk from the material.
    • If asbestos in good condition:
      • leave it in place; and
      • introduce a management system.
    • If asbestos in poor condition:
      • seal it or enclose it; or
      • remove it.
assessing the risk action
Assessing the risk: Action
  • Prepare and implement a written action plan.
  • When materials are to remain in premises:
    • inform others of their location and condition;
    • carry out regular checks on the condition of the material; and
    • review and revise the plan and update the asbestos record as necessary.
extent of dutyholder responsibilities
Extent of dutyholder responsibilities
  • Extent of duty determined by degree of control over matters concerning the fabric of building.
  • Possibility of shared responsibilities between 2 or more parties.
  • May need to:
    • collaborate in planning;
    • carry out assessment jointly;
    • provide information on location/condition of ACMs;
    • share information on asbestos in premises;
    • contribute to cost.
  • CAW Regulations 2002 made

- 21 November 2002.

  • Approved Code of Practice (L127) and Guidance (INDG223 and HSG 227) published

- 16 December 2002.

  • New duty to manage coming into force

- 21 May 2004.

hse s expectations
HSE’s expectations
  • Adopt a precautionary approach to maintenance – NOW.
  • Carry out a condition check on all buildings where access likely (vital for larger organisations) – SOON.
  • Plan compliance strategy - START NOW:
    • management of process;
    • type of assessment;
    • recording of information;
    • managing the risk.
part 3
Part 3

The implementation campaign

the campaign
The campaign

Why a campaign is needed:

  • to raise awareness of the new duty and promote effective compliance;
  • to reach a vast and varied audience which HSE is unable to cover on its own;
  • to make sure the RIGHT messages get across.

Elements of the campaign:

  • awareness raising;
  • targeted visits/stimulation;
  • enforcement.
what are the key messages of the campaign
What are the key messages of the campaign?
  • Biggest occupational health problem ever experienced in UK.
  • 500 000 non-domestic premises contain asbestos.
  • Building and maintenance workers at greatest risk from asbestos.
  • Other workers also at risk.
  • Current asbestos risk not well managed.
  • Effective implementation of the new duty will prevent nearly 5000 fatalities.
  • Duty about managing risk - not just a duty to survey:
    • Consider the presumptive option.
key messages continued
Key messages (continued)
  • Represents a flexible and common sense approach.
  • A bad survey is potentially worse than no survey at all.
  • Reflects current good practice.
  • A proportionate approach should be taken towards compliance.
  • If asbestos is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed leave in place and manage it.
  • Act now, can’t afford to wait until May 2004.
what s happened so far
What’s happened so far?
  • Website.
  • Partnership network.
  • Conference and Presenter’s Packs.
  • HSE guidance.
  • Joint guidance.
  • Media coverage.
what is a partner
What is a ‘partner’ ?
  • An organisation that has agreed to help HSE spread its messages on the duty.
  • Almost 2000 already signed up.
  • HSE provides support to its partners.
how are things going with the campaign
How are things going with the campaign?
  • High level of awareness.
  • Evidence of activity.
  • Message getting across.
  • Much still needs to be done.
risks to success
Risks to success
  • Too much removal.
  • Inappropriate precautions.
  • Mortgage retentions applied.
  • Poor quality/unnecessary surveys done.
ongoing campaign initiatives
Ongoing campaign initiatives
  • Partnership network expanded and refined.
  • More proactive use of media.
  • Interventions at ‘strategic’ level.
  • Encouragement of public bodies.
  • More ‘joint enterprises’.
  • Improvements to website, better links, improving the Frequently Asked Questions facility.
ongoing campaign initiatives continued
Ongoing campaign initiatives (continued)
  • Update of How are you today? video.
  • Updating of the Presenter’s and Conference Packs.
  • Briefings for Local Authority (LA) inspectors.
  • HSE/LA inspectors’ programme.
  • European week of health and safety.
  • Best practice guidance.
  • 12 month review of progress.
useful contacts
Useful contacts

HSE’s Infoline:

Tel: 08701 545500

Asbestos campaign website and e-mail address -