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Appendix A9.12

Asbestos Policy

1. Summary

We acknowledge the health hazards arising from exposure to asbestos and will protect employees and other people working on our sites from potential exposure, as far as is reasonably practicable. This will be achieved by ensuring all our sites are fully compliant with their duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations and minimising exposure through the management of asbestos-containing materials in the workplace premises. Everyone who needs to know about the presence of asbestos will be informed. No one will be allowed to start work that could disturb asbestos unless the correct procedures are followed.

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2. Organisation and responsibilities

2.1 BBSRC Chief Executive

You are responsible for making sure that:

  • Effective structures are in place to manage asbestos
  • An effective asbestos policy is developed and implemented consistently
  • Positive action is taken to improve performance where problems are identified with the safe management of asbestos containing materials

2.2 Institute Director

You are the duty holder for the management of asbestos issues within your establishment. You are responsible for:

  • Making adequate resources available for managing asbestos
  • Ensuring an asbestos management plan is in place, actioned and reviewed as necessary
  • Making sure establishment policies are created, reviewed and publicised
  • Periodic consultation with employees and safety representatives to improve awareness and seek suggestions for improvement

2.3 Head of Estate, Engineering and/or Facilities

You are responsible for developing an asbestos management plan to minimise the risk presented by asbestos containing material on the premises, this will include:

  • Preparing an asbestos register identifying the location of asbestos containing materials for the premises, the risk presented by the asbestos containing materials and the priority for abatement
  • Communicating the asbestos management plan, policy and procedures by ensuring that any staff, students, contractors or visitors who may come into contact with asbestos containing materials are made aware of their location and the procedures to be followed if they are likely to disturb the asbestos
  • Formulating an emergency plan on the procedures to be followed if any asbestos containing materials are accidently damaged
  • Ensuring risk assessments are prepared for the work activities you control ensuring due attention is given to the threats posed by asbestos at any particular site and adequate precautions are used
  • Making sure all asbestos related accidents, incidents and ill health are reported, investigated and any necessary remedial action taken

2.4 Health and Safety advisors

You are responsible for:

  • Providing advice on compliance with the legislation and the level of risk
  • Acting as a point of contact for employees, students, contractors etc
  • Providing asbestos training and information
  • Maintaining records on asbestos related accidents and incidents and overseeing any investigations

2.5 Project planners for building and demolition work

Project planners for building and demolition work must ensure all asbestos issues are dealt with prior to beginning any project. You are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that projects which need to disturb asbestos containing materials identify this within the project plan. The asbestos must then be removed within the timescales and funding of the project
  • Carrying out more detailed survey work as necessary, where intrusive work is planned at any property
  • Employing, as necessary, a professional individual for co-ordinating and arranging removal and remediation work where there are insufficient in house expertise, resources or knowledge

2.6 Employees

You will be advised of your role and responsibilities regarding asbestos, what it means to you and how you can help with its management. Everyone has a responsibility for asbestos issues, including:

  • Taking care of your own health and safety with regard to asbestos containing materials
  • Making sure others are not put at risk by your actions or omissions
  • Informing your manager and/or the health and safety advisor immediately about any disturbance or deterioration of asbestos containing materials or suspect materials
  • Following the Asbestos olicy and assisting their management with the implementation of the Policy
  • Reporting shortcomings or problems regarding the provision of relevant asbestos information and the conduct of others on site

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3. Arrangements for managing asbestos in the workplace premises

3.1 A written plan

A written plan setting out the location of the asbestos-containing material, how the risk from this material will be managed and steps taken to put it into action will be prepared. The plan and the arrangements will be reviewed if the use of the building changes, work is carried out on the asbestos, if there is an incident or at regular intervals.

3.2 Control of access to asbestos-containing materials

Access to asbestos-containing materials in the premises will be controlled to prevent inadvertent disturbance of the material and the release of asbestos fibres. A plan or register showing the location of all asbestos-containing materials and presumed asbestos-containing materials will be made available. Systems will be put in place locally to ensure that anyone liable to disturb asbestos-containing materials is made aware of their location.

3.3 Monitoring and maintenance

The condition of all asbestos-containing materials or materials suspected of containing asbestos will be inspected at agreed intervals to ascertain that there has been no damage or deterioration. Where damage or deterioration is found, the asbestos-containing material will be reassessed and repaired or removed as appropriate.

3.4 Arrangements for controlling work on asbestos in the workplace premises

Any work on, or removal of, asbestos-containing materials will be controlled to ensure that adequate precautions are taken to prevent the release of asbestos fibres. Work with asbestos and asbestos-containing materials is to be carried out by a licensed contractor (licensed by the HSE) unless the work is exempted.

For certain work involving asbestos, such as demolition, construction work or work on removing asbestos or asbestos-containing materials from buildings, structures or installations, a plan of work (sometimes called the method statement), must be drawn up before work of any kind begins. Where such a plan of work is required, managers must ensure that it is compiled prior to the assessment as the information in the plan may influence estimates in the assessment. The plan should specify that, so far as is reasonably practicable, asbestos and/or asbestos-containing products are removed before any construction work begins (assuming that it is not possible to undertake the works in some other way, thus eliminating the need to disturb asbestos). The plan of work should include the following information:

  • The nature and probable duration of the work
  • The address and location where the work is to be carried out
  • The methods to be used where the work involves the handling of asbestos or of material containing asbestos
  • The characteristics of the equipment, including personal protective equipment, used for the protection and decontamination of those carrying out the work
  • The protection of other people present on or near the work site

Managers must ensure that a copy of the plan of work is notified to HSE before the start date of the projected work and 14 days prior to commencement of work. The detail of the method statement will be based on the HSE standard forms.

3.5 Selection and control of contractors to work on asbestos-containing materials

When contractors are engaged to work on the premises, adequate steps will be taken to ensure the contractors are competent and have sufficient skills and knowledge to do the job safely and without risk to health. Only contractors licensed by the HSE will be used for the removal of asbestos-containing materials, unless the work involves the removal of materials in which:

  • Asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix
  • The exposure during the removal process is likely to be sporadic or of low intensity

Contractors hired to carry out building or allied trade work that will involve minor work with asbestos must comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

3.6 Procedures for dealing with Health and Safety issues

If you were to raise a health and safety problem related to work with asbestos, we would:

  • Take all necessary steps to investigate the circumstances
  • Take corrective measures where appropriate
  • Advise the employee of actions taken

Where a problem arises relating to the condition of asbestos-containing material on the premises or during work with an asbestos-containing material, you must:

  • Inform your supervisor or manager, immediately
  • In the case of an accident or emergency, respond quickly to ensure effective treatment

3.7 Safe system of work

Asbestos is hazardous if asbestos fibres are inhaled. The formation of airborne asbestos fibres can be prevented if asbestos-containing materials in the premises are maintained in good condition and not damaged. This can be achieved if you:

  • Do not carry out any work (even small jobs such as installing computers or shelving) on the fabric of the premises without consulting the Estates/Facilities Manager
  • Do not work on asbestos-containing materials without carrying out an assessment of the risk
  • Follow the written plan of work
  • Report any damage to, or deterioration of, asbestos-containing materials and any incidents that occur during work with asbestos

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4. Reviews and audits

The implementation of this policy will be monitored through the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

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5. Related policies and procedures

This policy should be read in conjunction with:

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Last updated 03/11/10
Amendment 110 - November 2010