With COVID-19 restrictions now eased in the UK and a gradual return to the office encouraged by the Government, Bureau Veritas is reminding Duty Holders of the importance of managing asbestos post-lockdown, and the need to be fully compliant with the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012.
The reminder comes as many non-domestic settings reopen fully for the first time since March 2020. With more than three quarters of commercial buildings in the UK containing Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), it’s imperative that Duty Holders are clear on the requirements and responsibilities of the ongoing safe management of asbestos.
Although ACM has not been used in the construction of buildings in the UK since 1999, the management of asbestos continues to be an important issue. Millions of individuals are potentially exposed to the risks of asbestos products each and every day – which rises rapidly if not managed correctly. In fact, Britain’s mesothelioma rate is the highest in the world, and it’s still rising amongst those aged 70 and over.
Anthony Flynn, Technical Asbestos Manager at Bureau Veritas, comments: “As we emerge from lockdown and begin to frequent workplaces more regularly, there is a need to ensure public and employee safety. As part of that, the management of asbestos is key. With many workplaces having been closed over the last 16 months, Duty Holders are required to ensure that existing asbestos management plans are present, accurate and compliant against industry regulations.
“All too often, we see Duty Holders carrying out asbestos surveys and producing associated management plans which then sit static for months or even years – with many believing this is where responsibility ends. Under CAR 2012 there is a requirement to ensure Duty Holders are fully responsible for the identification and ongoing management of ACM, which includes the implementation of safety measures identified on and ongoing basis.”
Although legal responsibility lies with Duty Holders, CAR 2012 states that they are able to nominate others to assist in complying with asbestos management duties – which is where Bureau Veritas is able to support.
Anthony continued: “Asbestos management is a complex task, and regulations and requirements can be a minefield. Many organisations don’t know where to start when it comes to asbestos management surveys, re-inspections and achieving compliance with the CAR 2012 and, as such, we are seeing more Duty Holders turning to Bureau Veritas post-pandemic to support in providing important asbestos management guidance.
“Unfortunately the effects of using ACM so widely in our buildings up until 1999 continues to be prevalent, so I would urge all Duty Holders to ensure they are fully up-to-speed on their responsibilities when it comes to asbestos management as we take these next post-pandemic steps safely.”
To support businesses in understanding where responsibilities lie when it comes to asbestos management, Bureau Veritas has created a free webinar entitled ‘Line of Duty: Asbestos Responsibilities For Duty Holders’.
To find out more about Bureau Veritas’ services or to discuss individual requirements with a member of the team, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk.