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Asbestos surveys and management

Up to 2010, there were three different types of asbestos surveys:

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Type 1Presumptive (no samples taken)Type 2Sampling (samples taken and tested)Type 3Semi-destructive. If the building is going to be refurbished or demolished, a more intrusive and in-depth survey should be done

From 2010, a new system (HSG264) created two types of survey:

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Management surveysReplaces types 1 and 2Surveyors are encouraged to take samples and not to presume. Note: presuming is still legal.Refurbishment & demolition surveys Replaces type 3

Asbestos management

Asbestos materials which are still in use today may remain in place, providing they are managed and kept in good condition and are not likely to deteriorate.

Note the law does not say they must be removed.

 Asbestos materials may still be in the building!

Asbestos registers

Before starting work in any building constructed before the year 2000, ask to see and spend some time studying the Asbestos Register. It will tell you what asbestos has been located in the survey and how it is being managed on site.

Registers will vary considerably in their level of detail and the way in which the information is presented. Even in registers that look comprehensive not all Asbestos Containing Materials are certain to have been located.

Click on this link for an example register. Note the meanings of the materials scores in the separate table at the bottom of the page.

Suspicious materials

Can the work be completed without disturbing the suspicious materials? In other words look for the materials that are not asbestos such as brick, breeze block, wood and plasterboard.

If not, check again in the information provided in the site’s asbestos register.

 If still in doubt contact your employer for advice. Do not just press ahead.

Asbestos incident

Where a possible ACM is disturbed:

  • Stop work and evacuate the area.
  • Where possible seal off the area and warn others nearby.
  • Remove any contaminated PPE or work clothing in a safe location such as the car park.
  • Report to management/safety dept, but don’t send anyone who has been exposed to debris as this will spread fibres through the building.
The HSE’s Asbestos Essentials Task Manual (HSG210) section EM1 gives guidance on What to do if you uncover or damage materials that may contain asbestosIt may be useful to print this off and keep a copy for reference in an emergency.