Asbestos was once commonly used for insulation in construction. But after it was revealed that long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to a range of debilitating and deadly lung conditions, it was completely banned from use in the UK.
Since the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012 legislation, it has been a legal requirement for commercial and industrial buildings to have an asbestos management plan. But having a plan in place is about more than just fulfilling a legal obligation. Let’s look at why your business needs an asbestos management plan.
Employers have a duty of care to staff
Employers must make every reasonable effort to ensure that their employees are not ever exposed to asbestos while at work. For example, it might seem unlikely that asbestos insulating a wall will ever affect workers in your business, but they still need to be aware of its existence. If a member of staff puts up a picture or shelf on that wall, it could lead to asbestos exposure that could have been prevented with a proper plan.
Having a plan put in place is easy
To have an asbestos management plan put in place you should get in contact with a business that has experience in dealing with asbestos surveys. They will then carry out a full survey, highlighting areas of concern and taking samples of materials that are suspected to contain asbestos. Following the analysis, the company will submit a report to you to explain where asbestos exists within your building as well as recommendations for your next steps.
Rules around asbestos are strict
Often there is no need to have asbestos removed as long as it is in good condition and there is a low risk that it will be disturbed. Asbestos is only dangerous when fibres are released into the atmosphere and breathed into the lungs, and this can only occur when the material is moved or disturbed.
Nevertheless, companies that don’t have a management plan can face heavy fines. Equally if an employee develops an illness or condition having been exposed to asbestos while at your building, they will be eligible to claim compensation from you.
Almost any property in the UK can have asbestos
Today we understand the dangers associated with asbestos, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the use of asbestos was not banned in the UK until 1999, so any building constructed prior to this may well contain asbestos. If you are an employer and you don’t currently have an asbestos management plan in place you should act quickly.
If you are based in the South East of England, Crucial Environmental can carry out full asbestos surveys so that you can fully comply with statute law. Visit our asbestos compliance page if you need general information on compliance or contact our customer services on 01903 297818 or fill in our contact form and we’ll be able to help you further.