5 Top Tips to managing asbestos

The following article has been sourced from rla.org.uk

Asbestos was a common building material between the 1960s and 1980s before being banned in the UK in the year 1999.

Asbestos is not harmful unless it is disturbed and is still common in many homes.

However, landlord could be prosecuted if tenants, workmen or visitors are exposed to, or put at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos was also used commonly as a fire proofing material known as Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) and used in loft insulation, partition walls, wall panels and built-in cabinets. Even water tanks and guttering could be affected, through the use of asbestos cement.

The landlord is also under a duty to ensure that a risk assessment to assess the presence of asbestos and how to deal with it is carried out before any work, e.g. repairs, is undertaken. They can be prosecuted for failing to do so.

If you think your property may include asbestos, you should act now and remember to stay safe.

To get you started we have combined our top 5 tips for landlords.

Top tips on asbestos for landlords:

  1. Carry out an asbestos risk assessment before any work is completed in your properties and ensure you inform your tenants and any contractors of the possible risk of asbestos in your property.
  2. Use a competent contractor, ideally licensed who understands the risk of asbestos and how to deal with asbestos.
  3. If you have a common area of your property such as in purpose built flats, houses converted into flats or HMOs you are required to carry out an annual asbestos risk assessment and ensure any asbestos is monitored regularly if not removed.
  4. Contact an Asbestos specialist to carry out any work to remove or maintain the asbestos in your property.
  5. Ensure the company removing the asbestos is HSE registered.

A suitable risk assessment should contain the full details of the work of which needs to be undertaken and how long the work is expected to take. The assessment, as stated by HSE should include the following sections:

  • details of the type and quantity of the asbestos
  • details of the expected level of exposure
  • details of the controls to be used to reduce exposure eg use of local exhaust ventilation, controlled wetting, adequate PPE / RPE use of enclosures
  • decontamination procedures for tools, equipment and PPE
  • details on how asbestos waste will be managed
  • emergency procedures

The HSE offer several downloadable task sheets of which will show you how to carry out non-licensed work with asbestos, we would advise you take a look at these before carrying out any work.

All non-licensed work needs to be carried out with appropriate controls in place, for some types of work will need to meet additional requirements known as ‘Notifiable non-licensed work’ (NNLW). For further information on this you can read HSE’s guidance on notifiable-non-licensed-work

Please also be aware that asbestos should never be disposed of in your general waste bin. Loose asbestos poses a huge health threat to those dealing with your rubbish.