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A: Asbestos is only a risk to health when it releases its fibres. Where the material is in good condition and in a location where it will not be disturbed, it may be better for it to be left in place and effectively managed.
Where asbestos materials are found to be in poor condition or are likely to be disturbed then you should first consider encapsulating, repairing or sealing damaged materials.
Where disturbance is an issue, consider reorganising the workplace to avoid the risk. Where this can be achieved, leave the materials in place, record their presence and manage them effectively.
It should be remembered that removal of asbestos that is in good condition and is not likely to be disturbed could give rise to unnecessary risk and expense. For this reason, removal should only be considered where there is no other safe alternative.
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A: Duty holders should:
The HSE provides extensive information on asbestos, including factsheets for workers and guides for safety representatives. All are available to download free from the HSE Asbestos Information page (external site).
A: The Health and Safety Executive's ‘Comprehensive guidance on managing asbestos’ (HSG 227) provides useful tips on the tendering and contracting surveyors and licensed contractors.
The information includes the things to look for to help you ensure that a contractor has the competences to provide you with the most appropriate service.
A list of asbestos contractors can be found on the Health and Safety Executive's Asbestos Pages (external site).
Lists of accredited surveyors and laboratories can be obtained through the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (external site).
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A: All duty holders have a duty to identify and manage Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) in non-domestic premises. Duty holders include all those with responsibility for maintenance and repairs on non-domestic premises. The person in control of the premises could be the owner, landlord or employer using the premises.
Those in control of premises should:
You should ask to see the ACM register, which should contain details of where any ACMs may be located and the chances of disturbing them during the work.
A: Some processes or products give off dust more easily than others, but work on any of the following activities is likely to produce some asbestos dust or fibre release:
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