Asbestos is a collective term given to various types of silicate minerals and when not managed correctly can potentially be harmful to life, health and/or property.
Asbestos containing materials can be broken down into various categories, these include:
- Thermal insulation;
- Fire proofing materials;
- Asbestos cement/fibrocement products;
- Decorative and acoustic applications;
- Electrical switchboards, insulators and fittings;
- Vinyl floor coverings;
- Asbestos felts and paper -like products;
- Friction materials;
- Paints, coatings, sealants, and adhesives;
- Packings and Gaskets;
- Textiles; and
- Miscellaneous and unusual products e.g. asbestos socks and phone boxes.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to various asbestos related diseases such as lung cancer; asbestosis (scarring of the Lung tissue) and cancer of the stomach, larynx, bowel, and kidneys. As of 21 May 2004, any occupier (landlord, tenant, employer, manager or owner) of a non domestic property, has a legal duty to identify the risk and the level of asbestos within the property. This duty also extends to the common areas of residential premises that are managed by either the Landlord or a third party.
By the 21 May 2004 all occupiers (landlords, tenants, employers, managers and owners) of non domestic property and managed residential property must have assessed and have in place where relevant a managed asbestos survey.
The duty to manage will require those in control of premises to:
- Find out if there is asbestos in the premises, the amount, the type and the condition etc.
- Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence to prove otherwise.
- Collate and keep an up to date record of the location and condition of the Asbestos containing Materials or presumed Asbestos Containing Materials in the premises.
- Assess the risk from the materials
- Prepare a plan setting out how the risks from the materials are to be managed
- Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action.
- Review and monitor the plan periodically.
- Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb the asbestos.
In simple terms this means that occupiers (landlords, tenants, owners, employers and managers) of non-domestic properties, (this also includes managed residential premises), are required to assess and if relevant have in place a managed asbestos survey, whether work on the premises is planned or not.
This new regulation will enable contracted workers on site to assess correctly the nature of a material before work is carried out, thus eliminating the risk of uncontrolled damage to Asbestos Containing Materials.
The importance of ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT will greatly affect non-domestic property owners and employers.
Consequences of Not Taking Action
- Health and Safety Executive Inspectors have the power to issue prohibition notices closing areas or entire sites.
- Companies can be fined an unlimited amount and individuals £20,000
- Responsible individuals can be imprisoned for up to 2 years.
- Directors can be disqualified.
By 21 May 2004, any occupier, whether it be by means of an employer, landlord, tenant, owner and/ or manager, of non domestic premises, must have made an assessment of the premises for any asbestos products and have a managed asbestos survey in place.
We recommend that the assessment of your premises is undertaken by a qualified Asbestos company who will also prepare the survey for you and advise on the best way to manage the survey in the future. A simple search, under "asbestos" on the internet, will provide you with many different companies who specialise in this area.
Click here to view the regulations.