The duty to manage asbestos is directed at those who manage non-domestic premises: the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill health that exposure to asbestos causes.
The revised ACOP L143 - Managing & Working with Asbestos, contains updated information about the requirements to manage asbestos under regulation 4 of CAR 2012. The information was previously available in the ACOP L127 ‘The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises’ which has now been withdrawn.
The duty to manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 It requires the person who has the duty (ie the ‘dutyholder’) to:
There is also a requirement on others to co-operate as far as is necessary to allow the dutyholder to comply with the above requirements.
The dutyholder is the owner of the non domestic stock or the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non domestic stock, for example through an explicit agreement such as a tenancy agreement or contract.
The extent of the duty will depend on the nature of that agreement. In a building occupied by one leaseholder, the agreement might be for either the owner or leaseholder to take on the full duty for the whole building; or it might be to share the duty. In a multi-occupied building, the agreement might be that the owner takes on the full duty for the whole building. Or it might be that the duty is shared - for example, the owner takes responsibility for the common parts while the leaseholders take responsibility for the parts they occupy. Sometimes, there might be an agreement to pass the responsibilities to a managing agent.
In some cases, there may be no tenancy agreement or contract. Or, if there is, it may not specify who has responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non domestic stock. In these cases, or where the premises are unoccupied, the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises, or part of the premises. Often this will be the owner.
In public buildings, such as hospitals, schools and similar premises, the identity of the dutyholder will depend on how the responsibility for maintenance of the premises is allocated. For example, for most schools, the dutyholder will be the employer. Who the employer is varies with the type of school. For local authority managed schools, eg community schools and voluntary-controlled schools, the employer is the local authority. For voluntary-aided and foundation schools, it will be the school governors, and for academy and Free Schools, the academy trust will be the employer. For independent and fee-paying schools, it may be the proprietor, governors or trustees. Budgets for repair and maintenance of school buildings are sometimes delegated to schools by a local authority. In such cases, the duty to manage asbestos is shared between schools and the local authority.
The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises. Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
Non-domestic premises also include those 'common' areas of certain domestic premises, such as purpose-built flats or houses converted into flats. The common areas of these premises include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift-shafts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, yards, outhouses and garages - but would not include the individual flats themselves. Common areas do not include rooms within a private residence that are shared by more than one household, such as bathrooms, kitchens etc. in shared houses and communal dining rooms and lounges in sheltered accommodation.
There are four essential steps to ensure that dutyholders comply:
There are some basic principles to consider when managing asbestos:
If ACMs need to be sealed, encapsulated or removed, a licenced contractor will need to be engaged, if the materials are high risk (eg pipe insulation and asbestos insulating panels). If the materials are lower risk (eg asbestos cement sheets and roofing) then an unlicensed but competent contractor may carry out this work, but best practice is to ensure that the same levels of training, supervision and rigorous adherence to record-keeping as that deployed by a licenced remover is maintained.
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