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The Asbestos Survey: An Unavoidable Need

Now that the health hazards associated with asbestos have become a matter of common public knowledge, the necessity of conducting asbestos survey has become unquestionable. Industry owners who knowingly used the carcinogenic substance have been subjected to much litigation from victims over the years. The legal emphasis however, has now shifted from slapping lawsuits on errant parties to adopting preventive measures. A sizeable body of legislation has developed over the past three decades. Most recently, The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR) were amended for the fourth time in 2002. Regulation 4 aims to protect employees by holding ‘dutyholders’ culpable if they do not comply with strict guidelines in monitoring Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) on their property or buildings. Only a rigorous asbestos survey can satisfactorily meet these conditions.

A Duty holder's Responsibility:

According to the Approved Code of Practice L127 (ACOP) of Regulation 4, a duty holder is either the owner of non-domestic premises or someone who is responsible for the maintenance of the site. The duty holder is bound by law to ensure that a well-qualified and experienced expert from a specialist company inspects the building for asbestos. It is also necessary to ascertain that the asbestos survey is conducted according to the guidelines specified in ‘MDHS 100: Surveying Sampling and Assessment of Asbestos-containing Materials.’ Broadly, the results of the survey should reveal where the ACMs are located, provide an assessment of the condition of the materials and to measure the risk of exposure from the materials. The information garnered should subsequently be noted in an asbestos register, which should be accessible to anyone likely to be exposed to the ACMs.

Types of Asbestos Surveys:

The MDHS lists three types of asbestos surveys. Type I, or the presumptive survey only locates the presence of asbestos and usually leads up to a Type II or Type III survey. In Type II, or the sampling survey, samples of the material are gathered and subjected to tests in a UKAS accredited, ISO 17025 compliant laboratory. Finally, the Type III survey investigates every area of the premises and is known as a pre-demolition or major refurbishment survey. The asbestos survey must be carried out only by an organization that adheres to the standards stipulated in the regulations. While it is not necessary to remove ACMs that are in a satisfactory condition, the law demands that the asbestos survey be carried out to manage the ACMs in such a way that the risk of injury is minimized to the greatest extent possible.

Submitted by:

Kirsten Hawkins

Kirsten Hawkins is a asbestos and mesothelioma specialist from Nashville, TN. Visit http://www.asbestosblog.org/ for information on asbestos reform, mesothelioma lawsuit news, and more.




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