Find out about our track record with HSE...

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“We've mentioned several times throughout our site that here at Thomson's one of our proudest achievements is our amazing safety record and that fact that during our 40 year plus history we have never had any form of enforcement action from the HSE or EHO’s.

Many of our competitors try to mimic our professionalism, service and quality and fail miserably. It is a well-known fact that if you employ a Contractor who has a poor safety record and are on the HSE’s priority for visit list, then it’s more likely, and should be no surprise, the HSE may target your site to ensure works are being carried out as they should be.

Removing asbestos costs roughly the same regardless of who prices the work, when it’s done correctly. It basically comes down to how many operatives, how many days and how much waste - easy to quantify really!

If what you’ve been shown by a company seems too good to be true, it usually is. Have you recently checked to see if the contractors you are using have been prosecuted or have any notices against the? Many clients don’t undertake regular basic checks, a straightforward process that looks at readily available information on the HSE website. CLICK HERE to visit the page directly. It may just save you the expense of a prosecution or at least the embarrassment of HSE scrutiny for poor practice!”

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Inhaled asbestos fibres can cause serious diseases which are responsible for around 4500 deaths each year (Source: HSE). Of these diseases, the four main ones are mesothelioma (always fatal), lung cancer (nearly always fatal), asbestosis (can be fatal but is also very debilitating) and diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal but extremely unpleasant).

As asbestos is naturally occurring mineral, there are always fibres in the atmosphere and in the UK we are exposed to them. These fibres occur in very low concentration levels in nature, but problems arise when working on or near damaged asbestos which can result in breathing in much higher numbers of fibres, hundreds of times that of normal environmental levels. It is these higher fibre levels that greatly increases the chances of getting an asbestos related disease.

Diseases related to asbestos have long-term effects and will begin to affect the individual in later life. Protection now can prevent you from contracting an asbestos related disease later. It is also worth noting that smokers who are also exposed to asbestos fibres are much more likely to develop lung cancer.

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What you need to know as a duty holder

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What you need to know as a dutyholder

Why you need a risk register and how to maintain an asbestos plan

1. Asbestos is still a killer

Asbestos is still the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. There are somewhere between half-a-million and million non-domestic properties containing asbestos in the UK. Large amounts of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used in the construction of new and refurbished buildings until 1999 when all use of asbestos was banned.

2. Your duty to manage

The duty to manage asbestos is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It applies to the owners and occupiers of non-domestic premises (shops, schools, offices, industrial units/plants and so on) who have responsibility for maintenance and repair activities.

3. Identifying the dutyholder

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012), owners/occupiers have a duty to assess the presence and condition of any asbestos-containing materials. If asbestos is present, or is presumed to be present, then it must be managed appropriately by the 'dutyholder'.

In our experience, the practical role of asbestos dutyholder usually falls to a site's facilities manager, chief safety officer or operations manager. If you do not have such defined roles within your organisation, we strongly advise you to decide who is specifically responsible as the asbestos dutyholder and act accordingly.

The HSG 264 Managing Asbestos in Premises Survey Guide states: "To help comply with the legal requirements and to ensure that ACMs in premises are properly managed, dutyholders should identify a person (and in some cases a deputy) within their organisation who will be responsible for that management. An appointed person will be essential where the dutyholder has a large or complex building portfolio."

4. Asbestos risk register

Under the CAR 2012 regulations, dutyholders must maintain an asbestos risk register that records: inspections on the condition of asbestos materials; deletions when any asbestos is removed; additions when new areas are surveyed and asbestos is located; and other issues such as if asbestos-containing materials are found to have deteriorated. The risk register can be kept as either a paper record or an electronic record, such as that provided by iStar Asbestos Management software. The HSE notes on its website that electronic copies are easier to update.

5. Your asbestos plan

As a dutyholder, you are obliged to prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from asbestos-containing materials will be managed. In the words of the HSE, you must "periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date". Plus you need to be able to provide information on the location and condition of asbestos-containing materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them.

A good computerised system will alert you to how and when asbestos should be managed. This means that you comply with the HSE's requirement to have an active asbestos management plan. It should also control material risk analysis and provide instant reports to anyone liable to work with your ACMs

6. Ignorance is no defence

Ignorance of the requirements of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and other related mandates such as the HSG 264 Managing Asbestos in Premises Survey Guide is no defence. The penalties of non-compliance can be severe. A comprehensive asbestos management system will also help you comply with The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the L127 Management of Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises guidelines and more.

7. Electronic records

The HSG 264 Managing Asbestos in Premises Survey Guide (the successor to MDHS 100) says: "Electronic documents can also be used to record all the remedial work carried out and to prompt the relevant person, eg the building manager, to carry out and record any further inspections required. Some databases can also link digital picture images of a sample and CAD plans. Printed versions of an electronic document will usually be needed for contractors and others. The distribution and circulation of such documents will need to be carefully managed to ensure only current versions are referenced."

8. Surveys

Surveys are a crucial part of the process of dealing with asbestos-containing materials on your site. Surveys should be undertaken by qualified professionals following the procedures of the HSG 264 Managing Asbestos in Premises Survey Guide. Thomson Ltd is a leading ARCA-accredited operator with nearly 40 years experience in the asbestos management and abatement field. We provide surveys, sampling, analysis, removal and training services. See our asbestos services section for more details

Asbestos Services

What is asbestos?

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Asbestos

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We deliver expert asbestos abatement, removal and disposal services across over the UK.

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Thomson Ltd delivers expertise specifically in the overhaul and maintenance of large mass-burn incinerator and industrial plants.

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