The Duty to Manage Asbestos – HSE Guidance

January 29, 2010

The Duty to Manage Asbestos – HSE Guidance

According to statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Every year 1,000 people who have been involved in carrying out building maintenance and repair work die as a result of past exposure to asbestos fibres and it is estimated that half a million commercial buildings still contain asbestos.

 Buildings all need repair and maintenance work from time to time and it is when asbestos fibres are disturbed, e.g. by drilling or cutting, that they are most likely to be inhaled as a deadly dust. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 introduced a legal duty to manage asbestos. The duty applies to all non-domestic buildings and the common areas of residential rented buildings.

 If you are responsible for maintenance and repairs of premises covered by the Regulations, you have a duty to manage asbestos if:

 
  • you own the building;
  • you are responsible through a contract or tenancy agreement; or
  • there is no formal contract or agreement but you have control of the building.

The HSE publishes periodic guidance on managing absbestos risk.