27 June 2022
During the 7-week period from Easter to 10 June 2022, the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) carried out a targeted inspection initiative to check that workers in the construction industry are being provided with appropriate training in the risks presented by exposure to asbestos. The initiative was a result of instances being identified where non-licensed asbestos-containing materials were being removed by workers without adequate training and safe systems of work.
The results of this initiative are captured in the figures below:
46 employers were written to in March advising them about the planned initiative and the legal requirements relating to the provision of training for employees who could foreseeably be exposed to asbestos at work. These duty holders were identified as handling asbestos-containing materials at work from records obtained from the Asbestos Reception and Disposal Facility (ARDF) at La Collette.
65 separate employers were visited or engaged with by Inspectors as a part of the initiative. These were either contractors actively engaged in the refurbishment of older properties that may contain asbestos or were carrying out work to remove non-licensed asbestos at the time of the initiative.
Where employers were found to be failing in their duty to provide training, time was allowed for this to be arranged voluntarily. However, 4 formal Enforcement Notices were served on employers found to have intentionally disturbed non-licensed asbestos-containing materials without the appropriate training, ensuring this was provided before any further work was carried out.
As a result of the initiative more than 100 employees were provided with asbestos awareness training by their employers that should have already been in place. In addition, more than 10 employees were provided with enhanced ‘task specific’ training in the removal of non-licensed asbestos-containing materials.
Inspectors will continue to check appropriate asbestos training and safe methods of work are in place during routine visits in the future.
The publication Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings and Structures (ACoP 8) provides practical guidance to persons who have duties under Part 2 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 and carry out work that could result in people being exposed to asbestos.
As a brief summary:
Asbestos awareness training
Asbestos awareness training should be provided for all persons whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos whilst carrying out their normal day-to-day work. In particular it should be given to all demolition workers and those working in refurbishment, maintenance and allied trades where it is foreseeable that their work will disturb the fabric of the building. In practice, most of those working in the construction industry will require asbestos awareness training.
Work with non-licensed asbestos
Additional training, in addition to basic asbestos awareness training, should be provided for persons who knowingly disturb non-licensed asbestos-containing materials during their work. This covers a wide range of materials including, for example, a roofer removing asbestos-containing roof tiles, a demolition operative removing asbestos cement sheets or an operative removing an artex ceiling or asbestos-containing vinyl tiles.
Further advice on asbestos is available on the UK Health and Safety Executive website Asbestos - health and safety in the workplace (HSE website) or from the Inspectorate on 447300.