Information about keeping workers safe from Asbestos

What you must do

Every day, thousands of workers are gambling with their lives by working on buildings where asbestos is still present and where the risks are not managed.

If your building was built before 2000 you need to know that it may contain asbestos, and be aware that you have a legal responsibility to keep workers safe by preventing them being exposed to asbestos fibres - both your own workers and those that may be working on the building, such as contractors.

By meeting your legal responsibilities and educating anyone working in your building, you'll help create a safer environment for everyone.

The duty to manage asbestos

The duty to manage is directed at those who manage non-domestic premises: the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill-health that exposure to asbestos causes.

It requires the person who has the duty (the dutyholder) to:

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its 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 the asbestos containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  • prepare a plan 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 to act on it so that the plan remains 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

There is also a requirement on anyone to co-operate as far as is necessary to allow the dutyholder to comply with the above requirements.

Visit the HSE Asbestos homepage for more detailed advice.