Have you acquired historic asbestos paperwork/documentation? Knowing the risks of relying on inherited documentation is an important step in achieving compliance and putting in place the correct safeguards for protecting teams and contractors from the risks of asbestos exposure.
Stuart Goodman, Consultant for Lucion Consulting informed delegates, as he took to the main stage at the Asbestos The Truth conference 2018, of the risks of trusting paperwork and relying on the hope that the surveys and documentation have been conducted and provided by reliable service providers.
A Bad Survey Is Worse Than No Survey
Taking paperwork at face value and using the information to inform teams, external contractors and relevant stakeholders leave room for incidents to occur and leaves the door open for liability cases. Goodman stresses that paperwork and documentation are only useful if it’s correct and available. Determining whether the information currently being used is fit for purpose and reliable allows for the correct next steps to be taken when managing asbestos risks within buildings and assets.
Start Out Right
Sometimes when clients are considering the first steps in managing their asbestos risks some question whether a survey needs to be conducted at all or negate to be an active participant in overseeing the works by harbouring a ‘here’s the keys, off you go’ approach or sometimes may simply voice caveats rather than include them in the initial contract, leaving room for misinterpretation by surveyors and contractors.
Ensuring all your requirements are laid out in writing through a plan for both the benefit and use for the client and the surveyor is essential to completing a useful and accurate survey. This is also a useful way of being able to measure the performance of the surveyor and combat any possible arising issues during the works.
Knowing what type of survey, whether it be a Management Survey or a Refurbishment/Demolition Survey is required can help guide clients’ expectations in the results. If it’s a fully intrusive survey, clients need to be aware of what this actually means and that damage to their property will be required to conduct surveys that are fully informative, suitable and sufficient for the purpose.
The purpose of conducting a survey is to make a ‘material assessment’ (HSE):
- To find Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs), record what it is and in what quantity
- To record how accessible the asbestos is, its condition and any surface treatment
- To record the asbestos type through sampling and testing or presumptions
Discover more about what type of survey you may need with Lucion Services: Asbestos Surveys.
Once the results are back from the asbestos testing laboratory, the next step is to consider whether to leave the Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) in situ or conduct remediation.
Leaving the asbestos in situ is only possible if the asbestos is determined to be of low risk of potentially causing exposure and can be managed through various methods such as sealing the asbestos material or restricting access to where the ACM is and conducting regular air testing and monitoring.
If remediation is decided as the course of action there are several things for the client to consider in the preliminary stages of the plan:
- Who is responsible for what?
- Procuring the right contractor – Are they certified?
- What paperwork do I need at the end?
- What costs are associated? – Consider unforeseen costs and time delays
Finding out the above information can help to avoid any nasty surprises along the way and informing the contractor what paperwork you require back should be laid out before conducting works.
Managing asbestos remediation projects goes beyond giving the contractors the asbestos register and commencing works. Goodman stresses the importance of questioning the validity and accuracy of the information given to the contractors in the first place. Other considerations Goodman suggest should be made are:
- Are the contractors able to read and interpret the asbestos report?
- Who manages the contractors?
- Have they received the relevant training prior to commencing works?
- Have RAMS been checked?
- Are they being audited during the works?
Overall, at any stage of the asbestos management plan and actions, it is vital to continuously assess the validity of the paperwork and data being used along with determining the reliability and competence of both surveyors and contractors procured. Implementing effective plans and contracts before starting any works and communicating KPIs with all relevant parties can go a long way to avoiding extra costs, time delays and setbacks.
Checking, reviewing and auditing everything before, during and after works have commenced will unveil weaknesses and issues before they can grow into substantial and often costly problems.
Who Is Responsible?
Knowing who is ultimately responsible for all the works, workers, contractors and paperwork resists a hands-off approach that may be taken by some clients. The liability remains ultimately with the duty holder. Managing the process from cradle to grave and ensuring accurate specifications are given to all those involved will be the foundations to a successful asbestos management project.
Get In Touch
Want to know more about asbestos management plans or the asbestos remediation process? Contact one of our friendly consultants and discover how Lucion Services can help you to achieve compliance: Lucion Services Contact Us.
Lucion Consulting: http://www.lucionservices.com/companies/lucion-consulting/
HSE Asbestos Surveys: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/surveys.htm
Asbestos Surveys: http://www.lucionservices.com/services/asbestos-survey/
Asbestos Testing And Sampling: http://www.lucionservices.com/services/asbestos-testing/
Asbestos Survey Guide HSG264 HSE: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg264.htm
Lucion Services RAMS and SSOW: http://www.lucionservices.com/services/rams-and-ssow/