How Do I Manage Asbestos at Work as an Employer?

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns


19 Jul 2019


You’ve discovered asbestos in your building. You’re unsure what to do, who to call, where to go. As a business owner, the onus is on you to take action.

But how can manage the risks from asbestos and what are your legal responsibilities towards your employees, contractors and others? Here’s everything you need to know…

Asbestos in the workplace

Where is it?

In buildings built before the year 2000 large amounts of asbestos were used in new and refurbished buildings. Blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned by law in 1985, leaving white (Chrysotile) in circulation.

Manufacture and supply of all asbestos was banned by the end of 1999. Existing asbestos articles can continue to be used until they reach the end of their service life.

A large number of premises across the UK will still contain asbestos. Much of it will be hidden in the fabric of the building so won’t immediately obvious. It’s also unlikely to be recorded in the building plans, but should be in the duty-to-manage plan.

Workers most likely to come into contact with Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) are those in the construction, maintenance, refurbishment and related trades.

What’s the risk?

When ACMs are damaged or disturbed they can release dangerous fibres which, if breathed in, can cause serious diseases. Around 5,000 people in the UK die every year from asbestos-related diseases as a result of past exposure, making asbestos the single greatest cause of work-related deaths.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012, updating previous asbestos regulations to take account of the European Commission's view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).

Who’s responsible?

It’s the duty-holder’s responsibility to manage the risk from asbestos by ensuring that a suitable and sufficient assessment is carried out to determine whether asbestos is (or is liable to be) present.

Where the assessment shows that asbestos is or is liable to be present in any part of the premises, the duty-holder must ensure that:

  • A determination of the risk from that asbestos is made.
  • A written plan identifying those parts of the premises concerned is prepared.
  • The measures which are to be taken for managing the risk are specified in the written plan.

In the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012, the duty-holder means: every person who has, by virtue of a contract or tenancy, an obligation of any extent in relation to the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises or any means of access or egress to or from those premises.

Or where there is no such contract or tenancy, every person who has, to any extent, control of that part of those non-domestic premises or any means of access or egress to or from those premises.

What are the responsibilities of the duty-holder?

The measures to be specified in the plan for managing the risk must include adequate measures for the following:

  • Monitoring the condition of any asbestos or any substance containing or suspected of containing asbestos
  • Ensuring any asbestos or any such substance is properly maintained or where necessary safely removed
  • Ensuring that information about the location and condition of any asbestos or any such substance is provided to every person liable to disturb it and made available to the emergency services

The duty-holder must ensure that:

  • The plan is reviewed and revised at regular intervals,
  • The measures specified in the plan are implemented.
  • The measures taken to implement the plan are recorded.
  • The measures specified in the plan are implemented.
  • The measures taken to implement the plan are recorded.

Asbestos Training

Training is mandatory for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work, including maintenance workers and others who may come into contact with or disturb asbestos, as well as those involved in asbestos removal work.

Asbestos awareness training helps workers to understand the risks associated with asbestos so that they can avoid work that may disturb it.

The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the dangers of working with asbestos and helps employers to comply with the law by ensuring that their workers are appropriately trained in order to work safely.

Expert Support

If you’re concerned about asbestos on your premises, or if you want to provide asbestos training to your employees, speak to a Croner expert today and book an on-site visit on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.


Fiona Burns

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