One of the things I like to do when undertaking asbestos awareness training is to help develop a robust intrusive work procedure. This is something which is massively overlooked in businesses.
To ensure people work safely across your business, we need to ensure they are suitably trained, qualified and understand the risks when undertaking intrusive work. We need to ensure companies are working to the correct Health and Safety Legislation, including Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (as an example for this article).
Here’s some quick tips to give you some inspiration:
Emergency Action Plan
Individuals within the business (particularly those undertaking intrusive work) should know what to do if they or anyone around them accidentally disturbs presumed asbestos containing material (ACMs). This should take the form of a simple flowchart or procedure- stop what your doing, make the area safe, get out as quickly as possible and contact your supervisor/person in charge. (Simplified for obvious reasons).
This is a UK standard for all businesses really. The training should be suitable for the type of work undertaken and should be delivered by competent people. It’s up to you whether you want any further stringent controls in place (such as specifying the training be UKATA accredited or delivered as class room training rather than E-learning). Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 stipulate this training be reviewed and refreshed on a ‘regular basis’ but most undertake this annually. The main objective of AA training is to provide information on where asbestos is found, when asbestos was banned and the health impacts of asbestos materials.
Non-licensable work training
This is required for any non-licensed asbestos removal work including notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW). However I have implemented this training across other work scenarios- particularly those who undertake intrusive work regularly and those who undertake digging/excavation work in areas known to be contaminated with asbestos debris/fibres. The main reason I do this is the training teaches individuals to decontaminate themselves (personal decontamination under EM8– asbestos essentials). So if they do accidentally disturb any presumed ACMs, they can safely decontaminate themselves.
Having people in the work place who understand the asbestos risks within buildings. I provide this function under ‘Appointed Person’ status for some sites. Also good to know- is local permit offices or building owners can provide this function. As they are setting people to work, they are ideal to hold this knowledge and advise work parties when signing onto permits etc.
Age of building/equipment
This type of information should be set out within RAMS but you may require the competent people to provide this information upfront (detailed in local advice above). Obviously older equipment and building fabric has a higher risk of containing ACMs.
Adequate risk assessment
Self explanatory really. You may opt to have a competent person review RAMS for certain tasks.
Knowledge of the Task
This is essential in keeping people safe. The individuals undertaking the task should understand their job and the risks when undertaking their work. Supervisors/points of contact should ideally ‘vet’ individuals prior to the work taking place. This is part of the reason larger jobs have PQQ’s/tender interviews etc. If you are employing a competent contractor they need to demonstrate their competence and understand site specific rules.
Asbestos Workers Course
For the licensable asbestos work- this is the minimum standard required. Main thing to look out for is the experience of the company and individuals, along with any specific asbestos licence conditions they may have. Generally I do not accept any LARC– licensed asbestos removal company to undertake work if they have had a licence revoked or conditions set on them (as this usually means they have had enforcement notices/accidents etc).
Drawings of the Building/Equipment
This takes us back to other information above. Drawings are key to understanding hidden risks. An example would be- an old boiler room that is now being used as something else. Boiler rooms are more likely to have ACMs within and older records would show information such as this.
We all have a legal requirement to hold an up to date asbestos register and have asbestos management surveys on buildings built prior to 2000. Back to information above, it is a good idea to allow permit offices to access this information so they can advise work parties. This information should be shared with those who are undertaking intrusive work as they will need this to produce their RAMS.
If you need help preparing some intrusive work procedures- feel free to get in touch.
Your safety is my priority,