We recently came across a letter from a local EHO (Environmental Health Officer) explaining the duty to manage asbestos in shops/pubs and offices, and other commercial premises built before the year 2000.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 places legal duties to manage asbestos upon business owners, and those responsible for buildings maintenance.
It states that, ”If you own the building you occupy and the facilities within it, then these regulations apply to you. If you are a tenant, then these regulations will apply to the building owner/controller who rents/leases the premises to you.”
This statement is in fact incorrect. If you rent/lease a building, it is not always the building owner/controller who is responsible. It might be you! Firstly, you need to check your tenancy agreement, who is responsible for maintaining the building and the risks to asbestos?
So, what do you do next?
- Identify the LOCATION and CONDITION of the asbestos. This can be achieved by carrying out a survey and/or sampling.
- RISK ASSESSMENT and MANAGEMENT PLANS. Identity the activities in the building that are likely to disturb asbestos.
- PLAN to manage the risks
A document from the HSE ‘Setting Local Authority Priorities and Targetting Interventions‘ states that Duty to Manage is of high priority, and the EHO are coming.
It is the duty holders’ responsibility to comply with these regulations, and carry out any works necessary to prevent asbestos exposure to both employees and other persons likely to be affected, including visiting customers and delivery personnel. Should any inspection of your business be undertaken by this authority then this area will be examined to ensure compliance.