Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral widely used in building materials from the 1950s to the 1980s. It was favoured because of its insulating and fire-resistant properties, but later it was found to be carcinogenic. Asbestos can pose a significant risk to the health of those exposed to it, causing diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to manage asbestos risks in your building. In this blog, we will provide some tips to help you manage asbestos risks in your building.
Get a Survey
The first step in managing asbestos risks in your building is to get a survey. A survey will identify any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your building, their condition, and their location. This will help you to develop a plan for managing the risks associated with these materials. It is important to note that only a qualified and experienced surveyor should carry out the survey. Fibre Safe offer a comprehensive list of asbestos surveys. For more information on surveys, visit here.
Develop a Management Plan
Once you have identified the ACMs in your building, the next step is to attain a management plan. This plan should outline how you will manage the risks associated with the ACMs, including any removal or remediation work. Your plan should also outline how you will communicate the risks to tenants, staff, and visitors to the building. Again, Fibre Safe can provide this service for you.
Communicate the Risks
It is important to communicate the risks associated with asbestos to anyone who may come into contact with the materials. This includes tenants, staff, contractors, and visitors. Your management plan should outline how you will communicate the risks, including any warning signs, training, and information leaflets.
Manage Risks during Maintenance and Repair
During maintenance and repair work, there is a risk that ACMs may become damaged, releasing asbestos fibres into the air. It is essential to manage these risks by identifying any ACMs in the area, ensuring that the work is carried out by qualified and experienced contractors, and implementing appropriate control measures, such as enclosure or air monitoring.
Consider Removal or Remediation
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove or remediate the ACMs in your building. This is often the case when the ACMs are damaged or deteriorating or when they are likely to be disturbed during maintenance or repair work. When considering removal or remediation, it is essential to work with qualified and experienced contractors and to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented to manage the risks associated with the work.
Managing asbestos risks in your building is essential to protect the health of those who live, work, or visit the building. By getting a survey, developing a management plan, communicating the risks, managing risks during maintenance and repair work, and considering removal or remediation when necessary, you can effectively manage asbestos risks in your building.
Remember that only qualified and experienced professionals should carry out asbestos-related work and always prioritise the health and safety of those involved.