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As a general rule, if you own domestic residential property, which consists of private dwellings and which do not contain common or communal areas, then your only duty is to ensure that you engage competent contractors to carry out repairs and maintenance. The onus for compliance with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2012 is on the builder or contractor. However, if the property contains communal or common areas then you are a duty holder under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the following guidance should be observed.
This guidance should be read in conjunction with the generic asbestos guidance on the Aviva Risk Management Solutions website.
The Regulations require Duty Holders to:
It should be noted that the duties do not specifically require that a survey be carried out. However, a survey may be necessary to identify some ACMs or to confirm the full extent of their presence.
Nor do they require any/all ACMs to be removed. Whilst ACMs in extremely poor condition might need replacing there may be alternative methods of controlling the risk e.g. encapsulation.
Hazards of Asbestos
The hazards of asbestos are well known and its presence in buildings makes good risk management essential.
Even though the types of asbestos are commonly known by their colour (blue, brown and white), ACMs cannot be identified by colour alone. The first step is to identify the materials that may contain asbestos.
Condition of the ACM
The chance of asbestos fibres being released into the air will be increased if the ACM:
If there are signs of dust or debris from the material in the immediate area then the risk should be regarded as needing immediate attention.
Removal or Repair
ACMs that are prone to damage or difficult to repair will need to be removed.
ACMs that are in good condition, or can be sealed or protected, should be clearly marked with the asbestos warning sign. Keep a note of their location and mark it on building plans.
Where ACMs are left in place they should be periodically inspected to check on their condition. It may be helpful to record any materials that have been tested and found not to contain asbestos, in case they are called into question.
Some types of work with ACMs must be carried out only by licensed persons or be notified to the Health & Safety Executive or Environmental Health Authority.
Notifying Workers and Contractors
It is important that any employees and contractors who are involved with building maintenance are informed of the location of ACMs. They must be made aware of the risk to health and be told that they must not disturb ACMs
In addition to informing them of the location of the known ACMs, they should be aware of what sorts of materials contain asbestos and the need to inform a responsible person if they inadvertently discover or disturb any materials that may contain asbestos.
Disposal of Asbestos
Asbestos waste (that is any material containing more that 0.1% asbestos) is covered by environmental legislation, the Special Waste Regulations 1996. Asbestos
Waste should be double wrapped in heavy-duty polythene bags and clearly labelled before it is transported to a disposal site. It can only be disposed of at a site that is licensed to take hazardous waste.
Key Action Steps
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 SI 2012/632.
Approved Codes of Practice:
HSE Asbestos Home Page
HSE Asbestos Essentials
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.
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