The duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises
7 Asbestos, a category 1 human carcinogen, is subject to two sets of regulations – REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2007)6 and, CAR 2012. REACH prohibits the importation, supply and use of asbestos. CAR 2012 covers work with asbestos, and licensing of asbestos-removal activities. Regulation 4 of CAR 2012 contains an explicit duty on the owners and occupiers of non-domestic premises, who have maintenance and repair responsibilities, to assess and manage the risks from the presence of asbestos (the duty is summarised in Figure 1). The risks will vary with circumstances and can arise from normal occupation of a building or from inadvertent disturbance during the repair, refurbishment and demolition of premises. The risk assessment will be used to produce a management plan which details and records what actions to take to manage and reduce the risks from asbestos.
8 The requirements are placed on ‘dutyholders’, who should:
take reasonable steps to determine the location of materials likely to contain ??asbestos;
presume materials to contain asbestos, unless there are good reasons not to ??do so;
make and maintain a written record of the location of the ACMs and ??presumed ACMs;
assess and monitor the condition of ACMs and presumed ACMs;??
assess the risk of exposure from ACMs and presumed ACMs and prepare a ??written plan of the actions and measures necessary to manage the risk (ie the ‘management plan’); and
take steps to see that these actions are carried out.
9 To manage the risk from ACMs, the dutyholder will need to: keep and maintain an up-to-date record of the location, condition, maintenance n and removal of all ACMs on the premises;repair, seal or remove ACMs if there is a risk of exposure due to their condition n or location; maintain ACMs in a good state of repair and regularly monitor their condition;n inform anyone who is liable to disturb the ACMs about their location and n condition; have arrangements and procedures in place so that work which may disturb n the ACMs complies with CAR 2012; and review the plan at regular intervals and make changes if circumstances change. n Management of asbestos in domestic premises
10 The ‘duty to manage asbestos’ requirements of regulation 4 of CAR 2012 do not normally apply to domestic premises. However, the requirements do apply to common parts of premises, including housing developments and blocks of flats, but do not place any direct duties on landlords for individual houses or flats. Examples of common parts would include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift shafts, staircases, boilerhouses, vertical risers, gardens, yards and outhouses. The requirements do not apply to rooms within a private residence which are shared by more than one household, such as bathrooms, kitchens etc in shared houses and communal dining rooms and lounges in sheltered accommodation.
11 The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 19747 section 2, requires all employers to conduct their work so their employees will not be exposed to health and safety risks, and to provide information to other people about their workplace which might affect their health and safety. Section 3 places duties on employers and the self-employed towards people not in their employment and section 4 contains general duties for anyone who has control, to any extent, over a workplace. In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 19998 require employers to assess the health and safety risks to third parties, such as tenants who may be affected by their activities, and to make appropriate arrangements to protect them.
12 These requirements mean that organisations such as local authorities, housing associations, social housing management companies and others who own, or are responsible for, domestic properties, have legal duties to ensure the health and safety of their staff (and others) in domestic premises used as a place of work. As employers, the organisations also have duties under the general requirements of CAR 2012 to identify asbestos, carry out a risk assessment of work liable to expose employees to asbestos and prepare a suitable written plan of work.
13 CDM requires arrangements to be in place to deal with asbestos during construction work, including refurbishment and demolition. Where construction or building work is to be carried out, the CDM client must provide designers and contractors who are bidding for the work (or who they intend to engage) with project-specific information about the presence of asbestos, so that the risks associated with design and construction work, including demolition, can be addressed. It is not acceptable to make general reference to hazards that may exist. Therefore, site-specific asbestos surveys should be carried out in advance of construction work to make sure that the information is available to those who need it.
14 To help comply with the legal requirements and to ensure that ACMs in premises are properly managed, dutyholders should identify a person (and in some cases a deputy) within their organisation who will be responsible for that management. An appointed person will be essential where the dutyholder has a large or complex building portfolio. The appointed person will need the resources, skills, training and authority to ensure that the ACMs are managed effectively. Part of their responsibilities will include managing the survey, including contractual and reporting arrangements, quality and subsequent use of the data.
15 The survey data and information will be used to complete an asbestos register and building diagram(s) showing the ACM locations. It will also feed into the risk assessment, which will be used to develop the management plan. The dutyholder needs to establish clear lines of responsibility for asbestos management and implementation of the plan.
Health And Safety Issues
16 Surveying and sampling ACMs can give rise to exposure to asbestos. These work activities are covered by the more general requirements of CAR 2012. The regulations require employers to carry out a risk assessment (regulation 6) and prepare a plan of work (regulation 7), setting out the control measures and personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used. The regulations also require that adequate information, instruction and training (including refresher training) (regulation 10) are given to the sampling personnel. Training should meet the requirements for non-licensable asbestos work as set out in the Approved Code of Practice, Work with materials containing asbestos. Sampling ACMs is, however, exempt from the regulations covering licensing (regulation 8), notification of work with asbestos (regulation 9) and health surveillance (regulation 22) by virtue of regulation 3(2), as the exposure is sporadic and low intensity and is unlikely to exceed the control limit. Other hazards may also be present, such as working at heights and electrical cables. A risk assessment will need to be carried out before starting work on site (see paragraphs 83–87). It should include any safety aspects and record any safety protocol to be observed on site as well as fire alarm and evacuation procedures.