Why are asbestos reinspections so important?

Neil Munro Acorn News

For duty holders, a vital element of asbestos management is checking the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on a regular basis. This is done via asbestos reinspections, and involves materials that have already been identified as containing asbestos.

An asbestos reinspection ensures asbestos containing materials have not degraded to the extent where they might endanger staff or anyone working nearby. Essentially, regularly carrying out a reinspection survey means you meet your obligations under UK asbestos law.  

What happens during asbestos reinspections?

The surveyor examines the materials identified as containing asbestos in previous management, refurbishment, or demolition surveys, checking for further degradation or damage and assessing the risk posed by each ACM.

Materials are photographed, their condition documented, and samples tested as required. A full report is provided detailing the findings, along with recommendations for dealing with any issues that have emerged.

A comprehensive remediation consultation allows you to establish your best options, bearing in mind the severity of the problem, your budget, and the impact on your business if invasive or disruptive work might be needed.

How often are asbestos reinspections required?

An asbestos reinspection survey typically takes place every 12 months as a minimum, but if a particular material is thought to pose a danger to health and safety the surveyor may recommend more frequent evaluations or specific action.

If action is required, it could include removing the asbestos material(s) in question, or perhaps repairing and encapsulating to prolong its life, but whatever the steps recommended it’s crucial to ensure licensed and fully qualified contractors undertake this type of work.

If you don’t commission asbestos reinspections

Failing to comply with UK asbestos regulations not only endangers health and safety in general, it also leaves you open to prosecution as a duty holder due to your legal obligation to manage asbestos within your buildings.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing worker health and safety in the UK, and undertakes regular compliance checks with regard to asbestos. If an asbestos emergency occurs as a result of compliance failure, you’re likely to be fined and/or prosecuted.

The risk of an asbestos emergency

Asbestos materials degrade over time and it’s only by reinspecting them on a planned and regular schedule that the risks can be managed. The problem is that asbestos fibres are microscopic, and not easily seen if they’re released from damaged materials.

An asbestos emergency would require the immediate closure of the affected area to control the release and spread of fibres. Careful asbestos management protects your workers and visitors to the buildings you oversee, whilst also preventing a possible unplanned shutdown of the site.

Acorn Analytical Services can help you comply with your duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations. We offer asbestos reinspections, repair and encapsulation services, and a range of other asbestos surveys. Please contact our highly experienced team for a free asbestos quote and more information on managing asbestos in your premises.