Asbestos Duty to Manage

Asbestos remains the UK’s biggest workplace killer; 20 tradesmen die a week from past exposure to Asbestos. This is why it is so important that we control Asbestos and ensure that people (such as Contractors, Tenants and Property Managers) are not exposed to it during their everyday working activities.

Below, we have answered some key questions in relation to Asbestos, Asbestos related diseases, and your duties as somebody in control of a premises.

What is Asbestosis and what are the symptoms?

Asbestosis is a serious long-term lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to Asbestos. Some of the symptoms of Asbestosis include: difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, hyper tension, and swelling in the neck and face.

Where is Asbestos likely to be found?

Asbestos can be found in a number of different areas of a property, some of the lower risk Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) include: floor tiles, cement flues and sheets, and textured Coating. Whilst some of the higher risk ACMS are sprayed coating, loose fill, dust/debris, and AIB Ceiling tiles.

Do materials need to be tested to confirm they are Asbestos?

There is no way to definitely identify asbestos by sight, it needs to be tested by an expert. Many materials that do not contain Asbestos look just the same as materials that do. You should treat all suspect materials as Asbestos unless proven otherwise. When samples are taken by our Surveyor during an Asbestos Survey, they are taken to a UCAS Accredited Lab for testing.

What is the ‘Duty to Manage’?

The Duty to Manage Asbestos is contained in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

The Dutyholder (employer or person in control of the premises such as a Property Manager or Landlord) is responsible for reducing the risks of exposure to Asbestos and should be taking four essential steps in order to comply:

  • Find out whether the premises contain Asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what conditions it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain Asbestos
  • Assess the risk from Asbestos present in the premises
  • Make a plan to manage the risk and act on it
  • Provide this information to other employers (e.g. building contractors) who are likely to disturb any Asbestos present

If you are Dutyholder you should have an Asbestos Management Survey carried out by an experienced Surveyor, who will assess the premises to find out if it contains Asbestos and take samples where necessary to confirm. You should then be acting on the findings and evaluating the risks, and seeking expert advice on recommendations.

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