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    HSE CRACKDOWN ON ASBESTOS DUTY TO MANAGE

    Widespread ignorance of asbestos management duty prompts action

    Recent work by HSE and the Institute of Employment studies has revealed that over 60% of commercial premises are unaware of their asbestos duties, have yet to complete a survey of their premises and do not have asbestos management arrangements in place.

    During 2009/10 Inspectors will be checking compliance with Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 – ‘duty to manage’ . In particular that: (i) the location and condition of asbestos containing materials has been established (ii) there is an asbestos management plan in place and (iii) the plan is being implemented.

    Some dutyholders adopt a ‘presumptive approach’ to asbestos management and assume asbestos to be present without a survey. Where this approach is adopted Inspectors will check that dutyholders have arrangements to ensure:

    1. no work unless persons are informed materials may contain asbestos;
    2. the presence of asbestos is confirmed by sampling;
    3. all presumed asbestos material is kept in good order;
    4. building occupiers are made aware of the asbestos arrangements;
    5. asbestos awareness training has been provided and;
    6. visiting staff are also aware.

    Comment: It is clear that if dutyholders choose the ‘presumptive approach’ HSE will be paying close attention to the arrangements that are in place. Perhaps it is now better for all dutyholders to undertake an asbestos survey of their premises?

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