Why you should use lockdown to deal with your asbestos

Commercial Photography from Pete Barnes

So here we are entering a New Year. Traditionally, a time for optimism and new beginnings but this week’s announcement of the latest national lockdown left many businesses reeling.

Almost a year on from the first national lockdown you could be forgiven for thinking we’re living through some kind of strange Groundhog Day but the truth is we are all so much better prepared this time around.

Organisations have learned to adapt over the past year and to take advantage of the potential opportunities afforded to them by lockdowns. One such opportunity this stringent lockdown offers businesses is a chance to deal with their asbestos.

How do I know if I need asbestos works doing?

The UK Government completely banned the import and use of asbestos in November 1999. If you’re the landlord, tenant or managing agent of a commercial property built before this date you may be responsible for managing asbestos, unless your contract or lease says otherwise.

If you are responsible, you should use an external accredited surveyor to carry out an asbestos survey to find out where any asbestos is. You should have the material analysed and keep a record of what you find. You will need to carry out a health and safety risk assessment and share the information with anyone likely to come into contact with the area, such as builders. You must make sure that anything containing asbestos is in good repair or that it is either sealed or removed.

Why do I need to take ownership of my asbestos works?

Despite the use of asbestos being banned here in 1999, the sad truth is even now around 5,000 people die every year from asbestos-related cancers in this country.

If you are responsible for managing your asbestos it is your legal duty to have a plan in place to deal with it and to put that plan into action. Failure to do so puts lives at risk and means you could typically face a fine of up to £20,000 and a prison sentence of up to 12 months. In the case of a serious breach, you could face an unlimited fine and, or imprisonment for up to two years.

How will it benefit me to do asbestos works during lockdown?

Most asbestos works can be destructive, and take up a lot of room, with potentially lots of contractors on site. As a result, a lot of asbestos-related work takes place out of hours, whilst premises are unoccupied, which incurs additional hourly rates, staff overtime and unsociable hours.

Once again, many premises are now unoccupied or are operating with a skeleton staff which means it is potentially easier to organise asbestos-related works during normal working hours and this can bring the cost down.

How can we help?

The thought of dealing with asbestos can feel overwhelming but that is where we come in. We take the worry of your asbestos headache away from you. We offer a comprehensive suite of asbestos consultancy services from asbestos air testing and asbestos surveys to removal management, and UKATA accredited training. We solve all your asbestos challenges swiftly to save you time, costs and stress.

We can future-proof your business today, with innovative asbestos management, which complies with the most extensive of regulations.

Is it currently safe for us to visit your premises?

Here at Acorn Analytical Services, it is pretty much business as usual. Our team has all received Covid-19 training with regards to social distancing and during 2020 we included additional procedures, such as incorporating hand sanitisers, introducing a one entry and one exit system on sites and introducing one-way systems. Due to the nature of working with asbestos, we are used to wearing PPE, masks, respirators and type 5 class 6 coveralls and have all the equipment, training and knowledge in place for working like this. We use P3 masks as standard and are used to decontaminating on entrance and exit and adhering to strict government guidelines.

You need not have any worries about our expert team visiting your property.

If you would like further information or advice on managing your asbestos during lockdown, contact our team on 0844 818 0895 or email [email protected].

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spend purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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