As an Argos store in Plymouth is closed for a whole week because of asbestos concerns identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); what should you know about asbestos in commercial premises?

Simply put, if you own or have responsibility for the maintenance and/or repair of non-domestic premises, then you are likely to have a duty to manage asbestos. 

There are six essential steps to take to ensure that you are complying with the law:

  1. Find out whether your premises contains asbestos;
  2. Assess the condition of any asbestos containing materials;
  3. If you have asbestos which is in poor condition or are planning to do work use a suitably trained person to conduct a survey and have an accredited company sample and analyse the material to confirm whether it contains asbestos. Do not break or damage any material that may contain asbestos in an attempt to identify it;
  4. Record the asbestos containing materials that you have found and the roles and responsibilities for managing asbestos in your company;
  5. Make a plan to manage the risk and act on that plan. This will include passing information on asbestos to any contractors / workers likely to disturb any asbestos present, so that they can implement the necessary controls, whether the material should be repaired or removed, or if you decide to leave the material in place, how it is to be managed;
  6. Keep all your records up to date.

Finally, remember if high-risk asbestos containing materials need to worked on, you will need to employ a licensed contractor.

Further guidance on managing asbestos can be obtained on the HSE website in particular here. At Markel Law we have a team of specialist Health and Safety lawyers, give us a call if you would like a friendly quote.

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