When asbestos is detected at a property, removal doesn’t necessarily have to take place. So long as the asbestos-containing materials are not disturbed, people can live and work around it. However, if the property requires any construction, electrical, plumbing or interior design-work (among others), everyone involved must be aware of the asbestos so that steps can be taken to maintain safety.
After asbestos has been discovered, a survey should be carried out, and a report created and maintained; regardless of whether it is housed within a commercial or residential property.
Being aware of the location and condition of asbestos within an area you or your team are working in can make all the difference in keeping everyone safe and healthy. This is particularly important for those working in an industry with increased chances of coming into contact with asbestos-containing materials.
What is an asbestos report?
An asbestos report is a document providing essential information about any asbestos found within a property. The report highlights:
- The location of the asbestos
- How much asbestos is found
- The type of asbestos-containing materials
What is an asbestos report used for?
An asbestos report has multiple uses, the main one being an assurance that everyone working near the substance is fully aware of the situation so that safety precautions can be implemented. Other uses include:
- Preparation of an asbestos register
- Inclusion of asbestos-related information within a risk assessment and method statement
What should be included in an asbestos report?
Asbestos can be extremely hazardous when disturbed, even lethal in some cases; therefore, surveys should only be carried out by a competent surveyor who can showcase their qualifications and experience. Once the survey has been completed, an asbestos report should be created with details of the findings.
The asbestos report should include:
- Analysis of a sample of the asbestos
- Where the asbestos-containing materials are located
- The type of asbestos found
- The condition of the substance
When is an asbestos report required?
Asbestos surveys, followed up with an asbestos report are required if:
- A property was constructed before the year 2000
- If a building is used for non-domestic purposes
- If construction work is planned on any property
- If a domestic property has public areas (such as hallways in an apartment block).
How long is an asbestos survey valid for?
Guidance from the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 advises that an inspection should be carried out every six to twelve months. From this, the asbestos report and any other relevant documentation, including risk assessments, should also be updated.
Asbestos reports and those working around asbestos
Multiple jobs may lead to working around asbestos. Of these, some carry a higher risk of exposure. Roles that carry a higher risk involve construction, electrical and plumbing work. These types of roles are more dangerous because there is an increased risk of disturbing the asbestos, which is when the substance is at its most hazardous.
Asbestos reports are invaluable to those undertaking work within, or near, a property with asbestos-containing materials. This can prevent the substance from being unknowingly disturbed and can be useful in creating a risk assessment for individual projects.
The importance of asbestos awareness
While asbestos reports are beneficial to individuals working at a property, it is only useful to those who have an understanding of what the report findings mean. Therefore, anyone working in a role that may lead to interaction with asbestos should undertake asbestos awareness training, this will ensure that they know what to look out for themselves and how to stay safe.
Similar to asbestos reports, this training is not a one-time event. In fact, the HSE suggests that refresher courses be undertaken to ensure knowledge is maintained.