HSE fines for non compliance to asbestos regulations

When working within the construction industry or on building projects, whether it’s yourself or your company that is involved, the most important thing you need to know is that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE for short) has the right to make unannounced visits to the construction or project site. This is to ensure that the duty holders are complying with the law in regards to managing high risk activities such as asbestos, and that you are strictly complying with current health and safety regulations. The responsible person or company must ensure that adequate steps have been taken to identify asbestos on a site or premises. Usually by getting an asbestos survey done prior to commencement of any works.When working with a high risk material such as asbestos you may receive a visit from the HSE at any time so you will need to ensure that you and your team are working in compliance with the current asbestos regulations. As the duty holder it will also be your responsibility to keep up to date records and asbestos surveys reports, items which the HSE will ask to see. If these are not available at the time of asking then all works will be stopped until provided. This can be an issue as it could halt the project for a lengthy time.The current controls in place regarding asbestos are the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2007 (CDM 2007). These regulations will cover many aspects relating to asbestos such as all non-licensed work needs to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority. A national initiative is taking place to crack down on unsafe practises in the construction industry. This is aimed to reduce the risks of ill health, injury and death for those working in or with the construction industry. As asbestos is one of the most dangerous parts of the construction industry, there is to be a month long campaigns for inspectors to visits sites across England, Wales and Scotland. This initiative is aimed to educate those working in industry about what is to be considered safe and unsafe working conditions. Poor working standards are unacceptable and if a person is working in dangerous conditions they need to be aware of the risks, and how the risks can be reduced or even eliminated. If poor conditions are found then an enforcement action can be carried out by the HSE.From the 1st of October 2012 the Health and Executive began to operate a Fee for Intervention (FFI for short) which is a cost recovery scheme. This scheme is to enforce those who break health and safety laws to pay the costs incurred by the HSE’s inspection and investigation, plus other related costs. Those found to be in breach of the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 will be held liable for the recovery of the HSE’s costs at the price of £124 per hour. Such measures may seem unfair but this type of fine is the most effective way to ensure that all construction sites dealing with issues like asbestos are following the regulations closely. As asbestos is such a dangerous material it’s vital that exposure is controlled when it is discovered.Trident Surveying has experience dealing with asbestos surveys and other asbestos related issues, so you’re looking to get a survey then get in touch via email or phone to find out more about getting a quote.

Importance of Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos was once hailed as the miracle building material but it soon became clear that prolonged exposure caused severe illness and death. This material was still being used in the 1970’s but the substance was finally banned in 1999. Asbestos might not always be dangerous straight away, but if any fibres are present, these can become airborne which can then prove a severe health risk to those in contact with the asbestos. It’s vital that asbestos surveys are carried out when dealing with buildings that were constructed or had maintenance performed between 1950 and 1999.Asbestos can be found in some of the following places such as ceiling tiles, stud walls and partitions, water tanks and toilet cisterns. There are several types of asbestos surveys, recently known as Type 1, Type 2, Type 3 until 2010, but for ease of identification these are known as the following; Management Survey, Demolition Survey and Refurbishment Survey.A Management Asbestos Survey is when a none domestic property is surveyed to identify the presence of asbestos within areas that are easily accessible and then evaluate the condition of the asbestos. After asbestos is found a management plan is needed when any asbestos is found and this plan should be kept up to date.A demolition/refurbishment survey is done when a property is due to undergo some sort of work, and asbestos may need to be identified within the work area. This survey could involve taking a small sample from a small area to larger areas being disturbed. All occupants will have to leave the building whilst the demolition/refurbishment survey is taking place, this is basic safety measures to ensure that no one comes into contact with the samples or potentially harmful asbestos.As legislation is ever changing when dealing with asbestos (all in favour of protecting people from its exposure as much as possible) changes are often made to the current legislation, such as in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and Regulation Duty 4 to Manage. Under the new ‘Duty to Manage’ regulations there is a greater responsibility for building owners, agents and landlords to identify and manage the risk of materials containing asbestos in their premises. It is the duty holder’s responsibility to do some of the following:

  • Identify asbestos containing materials (ACMs), and then assess the risk of the ACM.
  • Write a plan with details on how to manage the risk of exposure to asbestos
  • Follow through with the plan, and then review and monitor the cooperation of the plan.
  • Inform the relevant people (tenants, working staff etc) of the location and the condition of the AMC.

There are some changes to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, but on the whole changes have remained limited. Some changes include such as some non licensed work must be notified to the relevant enforcing authority.Trident Surveying can provide several quotes to suit your budget needs if you need an asbestos survey, just drop us an email or give us a call to find out more about what we can offer you.

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