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Topic: Asbestos

asbestos register
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Asbestos register

Asbestos register

Once you’ve identified asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your building, the next step is to compile an asbestos register.

Legal requirement

Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause cancer, and for that reason there are strict rules for those who manage and maintain buildings. If you’re responsible for a building constructed before 2000 you’ll need to formally identify asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and areas which are suspected of containing them. In most cases the best way to achieve this is to commission a professional asbestos survey.

Having identified any ACMs, you must then write down and implement an asbestos management plan. The first part of this is an Asbestos Register.

What format should you use?

Whichever format you choose for your register, it must be readily accessible to those working at the premises. For practical reasons most businesses choose to keep a hard copy at reception so that contractors and others can quickly reference it. However, if your technology allows, you might keep it electronically.

You should produce at least one register for each address. If appropriate, you might have one for each building at a location.

What to include?

Begin with the employer’s name and the premises address. Then create a clear record for each ACM identified. Some template registers comprise a list showing the materials and their location. But we suggest that you go much further.

We recommend that you produce one ACM record per page with plenty of photographs as this will ensure that each one stands out. For example, your records might include “Pipe lagging in the boiler room”, “Insulation board in the linen store”, “Asbestos cement sheet on the shed roof”, etc.

Supplement the register with a plan of the building which includes sufficient detail of rooms and corridors so it can be easily navigated. Number each ACM on the plan and then use the reference number in your register. This way, those who work on the building’s structure or installations will be able to very quickly establish whether there are ACMs in the vicinity. We’ve left a space for this reference number at the start of each individual record.

You’ll find much of the information needed in the survey report, e.g. “Location”, “Product type”, “Quantity/extent”, “Surface treatment”, “General condition” and “Asbestos type”.

In addition to the materials formally identified you may have areas which could not be accessed at the time of the assessment, such as voids in the building. It’s good practice to include these in the register as places where the presence of ACMs is assumed. Mark these on the plan and explain in the “Comments” section of the ACM record.

Scoring

Also included in each record are spaces for a “Material score” and “Priority score”. You’ll obtain the material score from the asbestos survey report. It’s a number between zero and twelve which is allocated to each material observed.

It is the survey recipient’s role to assess the risk to their staff or others who might be exposed to asbestos fibres. This is achieved by undertaking a priority assessment which takes into account the way in which the building is used. Effectively, this score reflects the likelihood that anyone would be exposed to fibres from the material identified. If necessary, obtain some help from a health and safety advisor. Further details about priority assessment can be found on the HSE website:              http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/managing/priorities.htm.

The final part of each ACM record is the “Risk category” in which you assign a high, medium or low rating. To do this add together the “Material score” and “Priority score” and compare the total with the guidelines at the end of the form. These suggest, for example, that a score of 18 or more is a high risk.

The risk category will help you prioritise your actions, but you should obtain competent health and safety advice to ensure that your decisions are appropriate.

How should you use the register?

The asbestos register should be used to develop an asbestos management plan - and your planned actions to this document.

The register should also be consulted in advance of any work taking place which affects the fabric of the building or on any equipment known to contain ACMs. Employees who could come into contact with ACMs should be trained on the register’s contents.

Register entries should be reviewed each time the materials are inspected. The condition of existing ACMs must be recorded and any newly discovered ones should be added.

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