Legal & Low

Asbestos Management Plan: Overview & Importance

Asbestos Management Plans (AMPs) refer to documents that help people prevent buildings from asbestos exposure and protect site staff or visitors from harmful hazards. It safeguards anyone responsible for maintenance and repairs within a building that may contain airborne asbestos fibres.

This management plan is a centrally located document that clearly and concisely details the following:

  • Anyone responsible for managing asbestos.
  • An asbestos register comprises details of an asbestos survey, such as the amount and location of asbestos.
  • A summary of ongoing and scheduled works that may disturb asbestos-containing materials (ACM).
  • An overview of activities for monitoring the condition of ACMs.
  • A set of instructions for people who may disturb the asbestos and the background to the decisions outlined within the plan.

Performing asbestos management isn’t just a one-time event. Rather it’s something you’ll need to manage, monitor, and maintain until ACMs remain present within your building. That said, hiring a reliable environmental consultant can comply with the legal obligation to manage asbestos within certain properties and buildings.

Who Needs an Asbestos Management Plan?

All non-domestic buildings and structures must have their asbestos risk managed through appropriate asbestos management plans, irrespective of the size of the business. Furthermore, although domestic properties are not included in the plan, areas such as lift shafts, stairwells, and roof voids must have asbestos management.

Any company responsible for looking after the maintenance and repairs of domestic dwellings falls under the category of asbestos management. Even if you are not a duty holder of the property, if you have information about the building, you are legally liable to cooperate with the building’s duty holder.

What is the importance of managing asbestos risks?

Asbestos is a health risk only if asbestos-controlling materials are breathed in. Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to a wide variety of asbestos-related diseases. Workers, in particular, who perform maintenance or repair tasks in the buildings are more prone to risks from asbestos.

Given the risks associated with asbestos-containing materials, it is illegal to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of buildings. But that does not mean all buildings are free of ACMs. It’s important to note that large amounts of asbestos-containing materials that are still present within the buildings were used in the past.

However, the risk from asbestos is negligible as long as asbestos-containing materials remain in a good and sealed condition without disturbance. ACMs can only pose a danger to health if they are disturbed or damaged during the routine repairs and maintenance of the buildings. Thus, one of the best ways to reduce the asbestos risk is to manage asbestos within the buildings effectively. To ensure its effectiveness, you can hire a skilled environmental consultant.

What are the steps of asbestos management?

Perhaps you may appoint a recognized service provider to perform asbestos management tasks in your building. But along with that, your involvement is also equally very crucial. That’s mainly because you can provide important information in the final assessment of the potential asbestos risk.

You are the ideal one to state how the premises are used or what disturbance of asbestos materials is likely to occur. Please note that you are responsible for complying with the duty to manage the potential risks from asbestos. Now, without further ado, let’s look at the step-by-step process of asbestos management plans.

  • Look for the presence of ACMs: You need to do everything to find relevant information on the location of asbestos-containing materials within your building. You must visually inspect the building and note down all potential asbestos-containing materials. Also, gather plans and documents from architects, builders, and consultants to get useful information on the potential usage of ACMs.
  • Assess the likelihood of ACMs: Once identified the presence of ACMs, you need to assess the condition of the asbestos-containing materials. Please note that the type, amount, and condition of the ACMs determine the potential to release fibre into the air if disturbed.
  • Take Up an asbestos management survey: Hire a trained and experienced person to conduct an asbestos survey and locate asbestos-containing materials in your building. Such a survey will assess the initial risk from the identified asbestos materials and offer recommendations on placing ACMs in a safe and manageable condition.

Bottom Line

To conclude, you are legally required to undertake Asbestos Management Plans if any asbestos-containing material is identified within your building through a survey or asbestos register. It will be beneficial to re-inspect ACMs within your property at least once a year to ensure their condition hasn’t changed or deteriorated. If you ever suspect that your building may contain lead paints, polychlorinated biphenyls, ozone-depleting substances, or any other harmful substances, survey to detect them along at the same time as the asbestos management survey. 

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