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HSE Announce Asbestos Inspections in Hospitals

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) announced at its annual Health & Work Conference 8th November 2023, that they will be carrying out a programme of asbestos inspections in hospitals throughout 2023/2024.

The inspections will assess how hospitals are managing the risks from asbestos within the estates and meeting the ‘duty to manage’ (DTM) requirements under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR).

The regulations place duties on those with responsibility for the maintenance of work premises, including hospitals, to manage the risk from asbestos.

In public buildings, such as hospitals, the identity of the dutyholder will depend on how the responsibility for maintenance of the premises is allocated.

Who Will be Carrying out the Inspections?

The visits will be carried out by HSE inspectors, who will contact the hospital before visiting to arrange a suitable date and time for the inspection.

They will need to speak to someone with knowledge of how asbestos is managed by the hospital and may also ask to see certain documentation in advance of the visit, for example your asbestos register and management plan.

What Should Hospitals do to Prepare for These Inspections?

In advance of the inspections, hospitals may wish to review their current arrangements and check that they are meeting their duties under CAR, which includes requirements to:

  • Take reasonable steps to find out if there are asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the hospital premises, and if so, the amount, where it is and what condition it is in.
  • Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  • Make, and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of any ACMs - or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos.
  • Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified.
  • Prepare an asbestos management plan (AMP) that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed.
  • Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action.
  • Periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements, and act on the findings, so the plan and arrangements remain relevant and up to date.
  • Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on, or disturb them.

Duty to Manage Asbestos Training

Launched almost 10 years ago, UKATA’s Duty to Manage Asbestos and Duty to Manage Asbestos - Appointed Person courses are intended to provide delegates with the understanding, theoretical and practical skills to undertake the management of asbestos.

As well as covering the skills needed to manage asbestos, the courses aim to teach those attending the need for an asbestos management plan and the vital uses it brings. Taken together, the courses are designed to decrease the danger of asbestos risk for those who may come into contact with the substance.

Speaking of the announcement to carry out asbestos inspections in hospitals, UKATA’s Chief Operating Officer, Craig Evans says “Since launching the Duty to Manage Asbestos and Duty to Manage Asbestos Appointed Persons courses in 2015, UKATA members have successfully trained over 13,000 individuals. I believe it is crucial for hospitals to be aware that such training resources are available now to effectively manage asbestos.

With many hospitals predating the year 2000, asbestos is still widespread among NHS trusts and boards, having been used in buildings built or refurbished prior to the ban in 1999. It is vital duty holders receive adequate training in order to safeguard themselves, staff, contractors, patients and visitors”

Occupational lung disease including asbestos related lung cancer and mesothelioma is responsible for almost 5,000 deaths each year in the UK, this figure includes healthcare professionals who have been exposed to asbestos during their working careers.

UKATA, a leading association, is dedicated to enhancing the quality and standards of asbestos training with the aim to shield workers and the public from the hazards of asbestos exposure.

The association collaborates closely with its members to guarantee that they have access to the latest information, training resources, and industry updates. They provide a suite of support services to assist them in accomplishing their training objectives. Their membership encompasses a diverse array of organisations involved in asbestos training, including training providers, asbestos removal contractors, consultants, and equipment suppliers.

UKATA is fervent about promoting safe and responsible working practices, committed to working with members and partners to realise a shared vision of protecting workers and the public from the hazards linked with asbestos exposure.

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Published on Wednesday 13th December 2023

Posted in News