What is an Asbestos Register?
An asbestos register is a document that outlines all the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) within a building. It is a vitally important piece of documentation as it can be used to guide installation, maintenance and demolition works in order to prevent asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure can result in the development of life-limiting and life-threatening diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural disease. An asbestos register is produced after an asbestos survey has been conducted. The survey should identify all ACMs within a building as well as their condition, which should then be documented in the register.
What should an Asbestos Register Contain?
An asbestos register should contain a comprehensive list of all ACMs within a building. Furthermore, it must document what condition they are in, which is important when considering the risk of inhalation. It is also important to include details of how much of each material is present. This could be collated in the form of a table, but another way of approaching this task is to include a plan of the building, with all the ACMs clearly labelled. Additionally, it is important that the register documents whose responsibility it is to manage the ACMs.
How to Use an Asbestos Register
Firstly, it is crucial that the appropriate individuals have easy access to the asbestos register. The register should be available on site and should also be made available to anyone carrying out work on the building. Another important point is that an asbestos register is useless if it is not kept up to date. An asbestos survey should be carried out yearly in order to make sure that the condition of the ACMs has not deteriorated to a dangerous level. However, this should be done more regularly if there is reason to believe that matters have changed. The register will need to be updated accordingly. The asbestos register will be used as part of the asbestos management plan (AMP) which should lay out where any asbestos is, the condition it is in and what the plan is to manage this risk.
Why are Asbestos Registers Important?
Asbestos registers are a simple yet highly effective means of managing ACMs. Registers aid easy information transfer and enable thorough consideration of asbestos inhalation risk. It must be stressed that creating an asbestos register is not a choice, it is a legal responsibility. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that the duty holder must produce an asbestos register, documenting the location and condition of any ACMs contained within a building. However, considering the massive loss of life that has already taken place due to asbestos exposure, it is apparent that protecting workers from the same fate is a moral responsibility as much as a legal one. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 also highlight the important of asbestos training in raising awareness and equipping workers with the knowledge and skills to approach asbestos management.