If you are a duty-holder required to manage asbestos risk in a building, you may think that no action currently needs to be taken if the building is lying empty due to the second UK Covid-19 related lockdown, or if the building has been empty since March.
This is not the case and you MUST continue to manage asbestos.
There has been increasing confusion about the permitted activity in relation to asbestos during the latest lockdown in England and restrictions across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which has led to asbestos professionals and trade bodies issuing a joint statement to anyone who has responsibility for locations and materials.
As one of the UK’s leading asbestos management companies, Eton Environmental Group has put its name to this statement and we are urging our customers, and anyone else who may have responsibility for managing asbestos, to ensure that the usual health and safety measures relating to asbestos are being followed.
The Health and Safety Executive remains active in seeking regulatory compliance during lockdown and there are severe penalties for those who are not following the legal guidelines.
Government guidance makes it clear that it is lawful to enter premises in order to deliver services and do work, and Eton is continuing to do this having first carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment.
Where sites/buildings are closed, annual re-inspections can be postponed, but they need to be taken before any staff return to guard again the deterioration of asbestos containing materials.
We’ve all learned the importance of ‘staying safe’ in 2020 but as far as asbestos is concerned this has always been the case and the potential risks have not gone away, in fact if anything they have increased due to buildings standing empty for so long.
So, whether your building is currently occupied or not, please ensure you continue to meet your legal duty when it comes to managing aspect and if you have any queries/concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.