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Safety Nudges

Asbestos Register

Published by Safety Net Team

November 22, 2022

If a building contains asbestos, an asbestos management plan must be in place to ensure that everyone using the building is protected against exposure to it. To assess such risks the asbestos must be located and its condition identified so that anyone who may have to work on, or near, the asbestos can understand where it is. The record of the asbestos present on the site is called the asbestos register.
This topic outlines how to develop and maintain this legally required information, including what information is required, how it should be formatted so that it is easy to understand by those who need access to it and how to ensure it is kept up to date.
Employers’ Duties
Employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974. Asbestos materials should be considered as a potential risk. A knowledge and record of their existence is a first step in managing that risk.
Other regulations, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, relate to identification and management of risks within the workplace.
Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR) employers are required to identify the asbestos type for any workers liable to be exposed to asbestos and keep a record, such as a register, of the asbestos present.
Regulation 4 of CAR imposes a duty to manage asbestos on those who, by virtue of a contract or tenancy, have maintenance or repair obligations for non-domestic premises or any means of access thereto or egress from.
Further, in relation to any part of non-domestic premises where there is no such contract or tenancy a duty will be placed on those parties who have control of that part or any means of access thereto or egress therefrom. A wide range of people may therefore have obligations under regulation 4 such as owners, occupiers, managing agents, architects and surveyors. Where there is more than one dutyholder the contribution to be made by each dutyholder will be determined by the nature and extent of their maintenance and repair obligations (eg through contracts/tenancy obligations).
The duty to manage, in particular, requires dutyholders to assess the location of asbestos, keep a record of the assessment, assess the risks associated with any asbestos and then prepare a written plan to manage the risk. Information regarding the location and condition of any asbestos must be provided to every person liable to disturb it and to emergency services. Compliance with regulation 4 of CAR will require a thorough approach to the searching out and documentation of the suspected asbestos materials, ie the creation of an asbestos register. Procedures will need to be put in place to communicate this information to all necessary groups and individuals.

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