Cancer causing ‘asbestos must still be managed during lockdown’

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Asbestos professionals have urged duty-holders to continue to manage the risk of asbestos through the latest lockdown

Asbestos professionals and trade bodies have issued a joint statement to anyone who has responsibility for locations and materials.

The statement reminds all duty-holders that asbestos must continue to be managed through the latest lockdown.

This comes as there are reports of increasing confusion about the permitted activity in relation to asbestos during the latest lockdown.

The reminder emphasises that the legal duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 remain fully in force.

The legal duties require all duty-holders to manage asbestos risks, such that exposure to asbestos is either prevented or reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Enable asbestos professionals to do their job

“Asbestos professionals, such as surveyors and analysts, alongside HSE licensed contractors, are proficient in the use of control measures, should have undertaken the statutory Covid-19 risk assessments and should work with site-specific measures,” says Graham Warren of industry body ACAD.

Government guidance makes it clear that it is lawful to enter premises (including other people’s homes) in order to deliver services and do work.

“It is important that you enable the asbestos specialists who can keep you safe and legal to do their job, even where your site is closed for employees, as part of ongoing asbestos management,” added Steve Sadley of asbestos industry body ARCA.

The bodies have underlined that where sites are totally shut, annual re-inspections can be postponed, but it is essential these are undertaken prior to employees returning to site to guard against deterioration of Asbestos Containing Materials.

“Across all of those concerned with the protection of people from asbestos, there is a real worry that the important controls to prevent Covid-19 transmission may be misunderstood as protecting people from other potentially lethal exposures,” says Jonathan Grant, deputy registrar of the Faculty of Asbestos Analysis and Management.

“The professional and trade bodies want to make it clear that the hazards of asbestos have not gone away and that we are all here to help.”

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