Complete guide: 5 steps to asbestos management

Asbestos management and the risks associated with it are often too complex, and thus, it can be a hassle for someone tasked with managing it. For those hearing the term ‘asbestos management for the first time, it is the task of the Duty Holder to follow asbestos regulations while being responsible for the repair and maintenance of old buildings and estate. So, in this post, we’d discuss some of the various aspects of asbestos management and the steps to following a thorough asbestos management plan.

The rising risk from asbestos

Asbestos in buildings is only a risk to people when the asbestos fibers are released into the air or are breathed in. Breathing asbestos particles can lead to asbestos-related diseases. So, workers carrying out building repairs and maintenance are mostly at risk.

While modern construction or building maintenance products do not use asbestos, it was widely used historically, even a few years back. In fact, asbestos use was banned by the end of 1999, so buildings constructed or refurbished till 1999 may contain asbestos.

Should you be afraid? Well, as long as the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) remain intact in sealed or good condition, the risk from asbestos is negligible. However, if disturbed, it can lead to serious health issues for all in the vicinity. This is what necessitates the need for a thorough and robust asbestos management plan.

Tips for meeting hassle-free asbestos compliance

  • Training: It is an often-overlooked part of the asbestos management process, but it shouldn’t be. One should be provided thorough know-how about it and the key requirements to meeting asbestos compliance. So, experts dealing in asbestos management usually possess proper asbestos awareness training. The training helps them understand what asbestos is, why it’s used, which building materials possess asbestos particles, the hazard it poses, its ill health effects, and how to manage the risk.

 

  • Confirming the presence of asbestos: According to the current asbestos regulations, buildings built before 2000 need an asbestos assessment or survey. This is where asbestos management companies come into play. The simplest way to determine whether there’s asbestos in your building and identify the areas where it is present is to get an asbestos survey done. There are a number of certified asbestos survey organizations worth checking out for this. The surveys are designed to identify damaged estates and buildings and those in need of repair and maintenance work.

 

  • Professional asbestos management plan: The asbestos survey will tell you if and where asbestos has been identified in your building/ premises. The job will then be to implement a robust asbestos management plan – one that limits people’s exposure to asbestos fibers/ particles. The plan makes thorough risk assessments and earmarks areas most vulnerable to disturbance. It will be the job of the Duty Holder to devise an action plan to monitor and manage the removal or remedial action.

 

  • Planning remedial actions: It is a legal requirement on the part of asbestos management companies to ensure that all asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are safely maintained. In fact, it is their job to plan and manage the risk. The findings from the survey help them decide if remedial action is needed. If ACMs are discovered in a poor state or found vulnerable to disturbance, it is recommended that they be removed from the location to limit the hazard. In such a case, the remedial action typically includes steps such as isolation, encapsulation or sealing, and repair.

 

  • Communicating the risk: Once you have a proper asbestos management plan in place, about how the asbestos risk at your estate/ building is being handled, you’d have to share the details with anyone who may need it. This includes the general occupants in the building, janitorial staff, and even contractors undertaking repairs and maintenance work. Such communication can either be in the form of a hard copy or shared electronically. In short, anyone who may come in contact with asbestos should be provided with details about the location and the condition of the ACMs so that they can avoid disturbing the asbestos particles.

 

Key takeaway

If the asbestos management company you’ve hired for your place detects the presence of ACMs in and around the building or at the premises, they should review the asbestos management plan put into place at regular intervals. While it is expected that firms inspect the ACMs every 12 months, more frequent monitoring is needed when the risk is high or when the ACMs are vulnerable to disturbance.

Have more questions about ACMs and asbestos management? Feel free to comment below, and we would love to help you figure out how asbestos management experts work with people and industries in the compilation, surveys, training, and implementation of asbestos management plans.

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