Asbestos management needs tightening in the UK

Alex W 2023

Alex Wild
Senior Consultant, Assurity Consulting
25th February 2022

In response to an inquiry being undertaken by a Work and Pensions Committee on the approach to asbestos management, in both verbal and written submissions, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) have highlighted:

  • “A lack of consistency in managing asbestos among duty holders; and
  • A lack of awareness and knowledge about the material, particularly among smaller businesses.”

The proactive duty to manage asbestos has been in place since 2004, so what are some of the issues that can lead to problems? Problems arise when the asbestos register is not kept up to date. The asbestos survey is often the start of the process, but building managers need to consider what happens after this:

  • Are the surveys checked to make sure of their accuracy?
  • Have all areas been accessed or are there many caveats and exclusions noted? This is often where suspect materials are found and the asbestos management called into question.
  • Is the survey suitable and sufficient?
  • If refurbishment is required, has the project manager checked the survey information to make sure they are happy with the scope and extent of the survey or are intrusive works required which may trigger the need for a demolition and refurbishment survey?
  • Have the ongoing risk assessments been updated? The material assessments are taken from the survey information, but have the priority assessments been calculated independently, are they accurate and have they changed over a period of time?
  • Is regular training undertaken to make sure that everyone in the asbestos management responsibility organogram is aware of the location and condition of all the asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) and the management processes associated with their organisation?
  • Has the asbestos policy been reviewed and updated and is it an accurate reflection on the management processes within the organisation? What changes have been made?

These are just some of the problems that Assurity Consulting encounter when helping organisations with their asbestos management. If you would like to know more or what to check and verify your current management, you can find out more about our services here.