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Managing asbestos: who’s responsible?

12 September 2022

ASBESTOS IS responsible for over 5,000 deaths every single year.

If you are regularly exposed to asbestos fibres if you’re young, you are at a greater risk of developing asbestos-related diseases than older workers. This is because of the time it takes for the body develops symptoms after asbestos exposure (latency). Asbestos exposure can cause four main diseases: 

  • Mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs; It is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos and, unfortunately, always fatal)
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer (which is almost always fatal)
  • Asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs which is not always fatal but can be a very debilitating disease, significantly affecting quality of life)
  • Diffuse pleural thickening (a thickening of the membrane surrounding the lungs which can restrict lung expansion leading to breathlessness.)

Symptoms of asbestos damage can develop anywhere between 15 and 60 years after exposure. These diseases will not affect you immediately but may have detrimental effects later in life. You need to start protecting yourself against asbestos exposure before it’s too late, as the effects are cumulative. 

Who is responsible for managing asbestos in a building?

Regulation 4 of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 places a legal duty on the owners, occupiers and managers of non-domestic premises (duty holders) built before asbestos was banned (2000) to manage any asbestos in their premises.

Anyone responsible for a building containing asbestos has a duty to manage the asbestos​ in said building(s) under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012. 

What are the responsibilities of the duty holder?

  •  ​Locate materials likely to contain asbestos
  •  ​Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is good evidence to suggest otherwise
  •  ​A​ssess the risk from identified and presumed ACMs
  •  ​Compile an asbestos register
  •  ​Prepare an asbestos management plan
  •  ​Monitor all identified and presumed ACMs
  •  ​Review the management plan at a minimum every six months

Duty to manage asbestos course 

NATAW offers online and classroom training courses in health and safety, specialising in asbestos training. They offer one particular course that explains the duty to manage asbestos, where the responsibility lies and what it entails.

The course is aimed at Duty Holders and Appointed Persons under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises. An asbestos duty holder or appointed person doesn’t need specific qualifications under regulations. The only requirement is for the person(s) undertaking the role to be “competent”. 

Competency comes from a mix of training, knowledge and experience. This course provides theoretical training on the Duty to Manage in compliance with Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Completing the course completes the “training” requirement of competency. To display full competency, extended knowledge and experience are required. This can include knowledge of the premises in question, experience applying the training and knowledge in real-life situations. 

What you will learn on the NATAS Duty to Manage Asbestos training course

·      Legislation

·      Developing an Asbestos Management Strategy

·      Asbestos Risk Assessments

·      Reporting Results

·      Asbestos Registers and Management Plans

·      Asbestos Remediation

Once you’ve completed the course, you will instantly receive your NATAS Duty to Manage Asbestos Certificate. For more information on how to introduce asbestos training or any health and safety training courses to your team, contact NATAS.