In Part 1 of this blog we highlighted the very real possibility of Duty Holders, under Reg 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR2006) receiving a visit from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), or relevant enforcing authority. Before starting to assess your organization’s compliance with respect to asbestos management they are highly likely to ask for two pieces of information, which will help them understand your existing practices and approach:
- Asbestos survey register/s
- The Asbestos Management Plan
Regulation 4 of CAR2006 requires a written plan to be prepared, setting out how the risks of any ACMs (asbestos containing materials) identified are to be managed. The Asbestos Management Plan is a document that details the organization’s and Duty Holder’s asbestos management arrangements and control measures.
The basic requirements for the asbestos management plan can be found on the HSE website and include:
• Details on the location and condition of ACMs identified, including plans (i.e. the asbestos survey register)
• Who is responsible for managing asbestos
• Plans for work with asbestos
• A schedule for monitoring the condition of ACMs
• Informing people of your arrangements
As a minimum, each Duty Holder should be able to provide, upon request, a documented plan that meets these 5 basic requirements. However the effectiveness of an Asbestos Management regime is dependent upon the alignment of the AMP with a number of other factors such as; the extent to which ACMs are present on site, the condition of these materials, the size of the premises or number of sites that the organization is responsible for, the scale and complexity of business activities and the scope and nature of the workforce.
Therefore, the basic requirements highlighted above would only be suitable for the likes of sole traders and small businesses, typically occupying single or small buildings. For much larger or multi-site organizations we would recommend that the AMP contain a number of the following considerations:
For large and/or multi-site organizations the extent of the survey register is likely to be considerable and therefore the AMP should make reference to the location and availability of such information, i.e. hardcopy registers and their location or detailing access to a web-portal.
The AMP should detail the personnel and hierarchy of management control. What are the roles & responsibilities and their qualifications and competency with respect to asbestos management?
How the plan is effectively communicated to management and the wider workforce? How are third parties, such as contractors and even the emergency services, informed of the location and condition of ACMs on site and the businesses asbestos management policy and procedures?
What is the organizations policy with respect to Regulation 10 of CAR2006 (Information, Instruction, Training) and what arrangements have been carried out with respect to training needs analysis and sourcing the required training?
Suitable procedural arrangements should be agreed and documented with respect to the planning and management of: Refurbishment and demolition works, Reactive and planned maintenance works, Asbestos abatement works, and Emergency procedures
The AMP should be reviewed within suitable time-frames, this should ideally be no more than annually but also whenever there are changes in business operations, personnel, and environmental changes or after an ‘event’ such as disturbance to on-site ACMs or non-compliance with the AMP.
The AMP should be supported by a realistic and achievable action plan. The Action plan should aim to reduce risk across the organization by prioritizing removal of high risk ACMs, addressing gaps in training and competence and regularly reviewing practices.
(This list is not exhaustive as each organization is unique and needs to consider the risk ACMs pose within its property portfolio and to its workforce)
As is the case with Asbestos Surveying, Duty Holders are able to delegate to third parties to assist with such tasks, as they become more complex and test business resource and competence. However, it is important to recognize that a Duty Holder’s legal responsibility cannot be delegated and as such they must ensure and assess the competence, impartiality and overall ability of a third party organization before commissioning any surveying or consultancy works, such as asbestos management advice.
It is also important to appreciate that even with the assistance of experienced an asbestos professional; the effectiveness of an Asbestos Management Plan requires appropriate input by a client representative with decision making authority.