Asbestos Professionals issue urgent reminder that cancer-causing asbestos still can and should be managed during lockdown.

Asbestos professional 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 in England and restrictions across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The reminder emphasizes that the legal duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 remain fully in force. They 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. HSE remains active in seeking regulatory compliance during lockdown and all concerned must continue to adhere to the requirements including the Control of Asbestos Regulations, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and the Construction Design and Management Regulations in order to continue to minimise all exposure to asbestos fibre from any source.

“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,” adds 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.

Graham Warren ACAD, Steve Sadley ARCA, Kevin Bampton BOHS, Jonathan Grant FAAM, Colette Willoughby NORAC

For further information on asbestos management:

  • ACAD -Asbestos Removal and general advice
  • ARCA -Asbestos Removal and general advice)
  • ATaC -Surveys, inspections and analytical services, general advice, qualifications
  • BOHS -General Advice, qualifications
  • FAAM -Professional standards
  • HSE -General advice and regulatory matter
  • NORAC -Surveys, reinspection’s and analytical services

Keeping everyone safe through the COVID crisis includes, preventing other hazardous workplace exposures. We are all here to help.