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Who is responsible for asbestos in a workplace?

When it comes to protecting people in a workplace against the harmful effects of asbestos, it is the person who manages those people (and the premises) that is responsible. They need to be aware of the risks that come with asbestos and what they need to do to ensure that should asbestos be a possible problem in their building, they take steps to mitigate this risk as much as possible. There is a good chance that the person who is in charge of asbestos safety in a workplace will be an occupational health and safety professional.

What is the duty to manage asbestos safely?

The first thing that needs to happen when it comes to safely managing asbestos, is that the person who is responsible can take the right steps to ascertain whether or not there is a risk that some materials in the workplace may contain asbestos. They then need to think about where the materials are that contain asbestos and whether or not the condition of the materials is to a high standard.

How can employers protect their employees against asbestos exposure?

The things that an employer needs to do to protect their employees against asbestos exposure will depend on the level of possible exposure that those employees are likely to face. This may be something as simple as being aware of the possible risks of asbestos and what exposure to it can do to a person. They may also need to train the people in the workplace on how to handle asbestos, as well as provide employees with the correct protective clothing and equipment that they are going to need to make sure that they are safe against asbestos.

Asbestos Regulatory Compliance

The HSE has created the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 as a way to keep everyone safe from the harmful effects of asbestos. These Regulations are designed to outline the guidance for those who are in charge of buildings and businesses, as to what they need to do when it comes to managing asbestos. It is vitally important (and a legal duty) to follow these Regulations and to make sure that you do exactly what they outline, or else you may end up finding that you are faced with serious legal implications in the future.

Asbestos Risk Assessment

Image of Lady in Safety Mask for Learn Q Asbestos Safety Role of Occupational Health Safety Professionals blogThe best way to approach managing asbestos in the workplace is to perform a comprehensive asbestos risk assessment. This risk assessment, much like any risk assessment is there to ensure that you have the opportunity to notice any possible risk of asbestos in your building. These assessments will also give you a chance to think about what you may need to do or change in the present and the future. It will look at particular aspects that relate to asbestos safety, including the condition of the asbestos-containing materials and whether or not they are likely to need to be moved, repaired or replaced shortly. An asbestos risk assessment is not a one-off thing either. You are going to need to repeat this regularly, to make sure that you are aware of any changes that you may need to think about and plan for.

Asbestos Management Planning

If there is a chance that you may come across asbestos in your workplace, then you need to make sure that you have an asbestos management plan in place. This plan will think about what you need to do to make sure that the asbestos risks are kept to the minimum. It will consider how often you need to complete risk assessments and how thorough these are going to need to be.

Asbestos Training and Education

Everyone in your workplace or building must be aware of the key aspects of asbestos safety. This means that training and education should be something that is taken charge of. The level of training that is delivered can depend on the person and the risk that is posed to them by asbestos. They may only need a general overview as to what the risks are, or they could need more information on how to spot possible asbestos materials and what to do with them if they are an issue. Much like any other form of training that happens in a workplace. There is a good chance that this training will need to be repeated regularly, to ensure that staff members are refreshed and feel confident in their understanding.

Asbestos Monitoring and Testing

Another aspect of asbestos safety that an occupational health and safety professional may need to take charge of is the monitoring and testing of asbestos. This is something that needs to be approached very carefully and with the right level of protection every time. Testing and monitoring asbestos can help to tell you more about the condition that it is in and the risk that it poses. It also can monitor a possible change in condition and whether or not the time has come for steps to be taken to remove the asbestos materials.

Asbestos Incident Investigation

We all hope that there are not going to be any asbestos-related incidents, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, these can occur. The occupational health and safety professional within that setting will need to investigate the incident fully and ensure that they complete records that relate to the incident and what needs to happen in the future.

Asbestos Auditing and Inspections

Audits and inspections are there to make sure that the rules and regulations that relate to asbestos are being properly followed (and in turn, everyone is kept safe) This means that they are a key part of the asbestos safety process. These need to be carried out by someone who is experienced and who is going to be able to identify any possible issues in the way that asbestos is being managed on a day-to-day basis.

Record Keeping

Image of Man in Safety Gear for Learn Q Asbestos Safety Role of Occupational Health Safety Professionals blogIt may seem like a waste of time to keep records of checks and risk assessments that are performed, but the truth is, that they are all important. Record keeping is an important part of safety. Especially when it comes to something that can be as serious as asbestos. Keeping accurate and timely records means that you are going to be able to ascertain what has happened with the asbestos in the building, what checks have been completed and also, and what things might need to be repeated in the future.


Consultation in asbestos safety means making sure that any changes or improvements that need to be made need to be passed over to the relevant people to make those changes. The person who is in charge of asbestos in the workplace will need to be able to offer the advice and guidance that is needed to make improvements for the future.

Emergency Preparedness

We all hope that an emergency with asbestos doesn’t happen, but just like any other possible emergency, they can and do. It is important that the person responsible for asbestos safety in the workplace is aware of what needs to happen in the case of an emergency and they have an emergency plan in mind.


Another key thing to consider when it comes to asbestos safety is whether or not there has been clear communication with everyone who needs to be updated on the asbestos plans and policies. Clear communication will make sure that everyone is on board and that they are aware of what needs to happen to keep everyone in the building safe.

Policy Development

Asbestos regulations are set out by the HSE, however, each business needs to ensure that they follow their policy when it comes to managing asbestos. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the policies that they have developed are extensive and that they cover all of the main aspects of protecting employees against the harmful effects of asbestos.

Continuous Improvement

If we want to take asbestos safety seriously, then one thing that we need to make sure that we do is to work towards making improvements. Continuous improvement is something that is never really achieved, but it is there to try to improve things in the future and keep everyone safe.

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