What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral that has a extremely high heat resistance. Up until the late 1990s it was commonly used throughout the construction and other industries within the United Kingdom. Due to its potential hazardous and carcinogenic effects such as asbestosis, which is a disease where the lungs become more and more scarred until they become so scared, they cannot contract and expand normally making it extremely difficult to breath.
The three types of asbestos fibres most commonly used in the UK are:
- Crocidolite (Blue)
- Amosite (Brown)
- Chrysotile (White)
Where is Asbestos Found?
Although asbestos is now banned in the UK. However, if a building was built prior to the year 2000 it is very likely to contain Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s). It was often used for insulation, flooring, roofing, ceiling tiles and also sprayed on ceilings and walls due to its extremely high heat resistance which was great for fire risk assessment and fire safety management.
All asbestos surveys should be in accordance with HSE guidance, HSG264. The main purpose of an asbestos survey is to identify the location, type, condition and extent of any ACM’S present. There are two main asbestos surveys taken place in the UK:
- Asbestos Management Survey – A management survey’s purpose is to manage ACM’s within the building in normal use of the building. They make sure the areas with ACM’s, if there is any, is safe and not potentially causing any harm, remains in good condition and that it cannot be or hasn’t been disturbed. This survey doesn’t necessarily need to be managed by a competent person but by a duty holder if the building is simple enough.
- Refurbishment and Demolition Survey (R&D Survey) – This survey is required for any building or part of a building where the ACM may be affected during works. For example, a building that is having a renovation pre 2000 will need a survey to make sure no ACM is disturbed in the forthcoming construction works. This survey aims to ensure that nobody will be harmed by disturbing any ACM’s in the premises or equipment and that such work will be undertaken in safe way by the right contractor. All ACM’s should be located and identified in the survey before any work begins. The area that has been surveyed must be vacated and certified ‘fit for reoccupation’ after the survey and construction works carried out.
Legal Requirements of Asbestos Survey’s
In all non-domestic circumstances asbestos surveys are a legal requirement. Meaning you could be breaking the law right now. Any building built before 2000 could potentially have asbestos in it whether it is:
- Non-Domestic Buildings – Regulation 4 sets out the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises. This would apply to public buildings, workplaces, factories, warehouses, offices, anything that isn’t your home. Regulations 4 states that steps must be taken to find out if asbestos is present in the building ad what state it is in by the duty holder. To comply, a management asbestos survey is needed, with the regulations.
- Public Areas of Domestic Buildings – Regulations 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) applies to non-domestic premises; therefore, you may assume that the regulations never apply to domestic premises. Although they don’t apply to the actual domestic areas, public areas such as corridors or reception areas may require a management asbestos survey.
- Construction Work – The control of Asbestos Regulations 2012: Identification of the presence of asbestos states that the employer must not undertake work which exposes or is liable to expose employees to asbestos. Due to the main risk of asbestos been when it has been disturbed. Due to tiny fibres been released in the air. Which can be inhaled leading to lung damage, asbestosis and in many cases death. REMEMBER even if it is at home, the second construction work starts it becomes a workplace.
How can we help?
Here at OJ Health and Safety our competent health and safety advisors are always willing to help. We create a common-sense approach that will put you at ease. All of our asbestos surveyors hold the P402 certificate or the RSPH Level 3, with a minimum of 2 years’ experience. Email us at email@example.com or use the Contact Us box below and one of our technical department members will be happy to answer any questions regarding asbestos surveys you may have.
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