Asbestos Management

Asbestos is a recognised class 1 carcinogen that is harmful to human health and the environment. It was used in the UK until late 1999 in building materials and equipment, for purposes such as soundproofing or thermal insulation. It does not pose a risk when it is in good condition and not physically disturbed. There is only a danger to health if fibres of asbestos are released and inhaled. The University has asbestos within the estate, and therefore has a duty to manage the risks this creates.  

The University has an updated Asbestos Policy, issued in 2022. Implementing its requirements ensures the University meets its legal obligations and protects employees, students, contractors, and visitors from exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

Emergency: Suspected Asbestos Disturbance

  • Working Hours: DLO +44 (0)1865 2 70877
  • Out of Hours: Security Services +44 (0)1865 289999)
 
Asbestos Management for departments

The latest version of the University Asbestos Policy was released on 14/9/2022. All departments, faculties and units are responsible for meeting the obligations it sets out thereby ensuring that the University meets its legal obligations under the Control of Asbestos Regs 2012.

The following is a summary of these departmental obligations:

  1. Identify the duty holders in your area and what each person is responsible for.
  2. Identify the skills needed to discharge these responsibilities and provide appropriate training with the Safety Office or external providers. A detailed list of the trainings required for each duty holder can be found in the Asbestos Competency and Training Plan.
  3. Create a Departmental Arrangements document and name a departmental contact person. A template form can be downloaded here. This plan must be returned to the Compliance Team by 14/3/2023 and every three years thereafter. It will inform the annual report to the Safety Executive Group. 
  4. Check the asbestos register to understand hazards in your area generally, and before undertaking or instructing any maintenance, repair, refurbishment, or development. Even minor jobs like fixing shelves to walls have the potential to disturb asbestos.
  5. Take competent advice and use accredited consultants when asbestos could be disturbed by planned works, or where existing information is not sufficient. Contact the Compliance team for specialist advice, and to access the asbestos consultancy framework and approved Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractors (LARCs).
  6. Do not work on ACMs. Unless authorization has been granted from the senior duty holder, University staff and students are not permitted to work directly with asbestos containing materials or objects and must use an approved LARC.
  7. Inform all relevant parties that asbestos is present. Ensure that all information on asbestos containing material or objects that might impact an external contractor’s activities, is effectively communicated to them. Asbestos registers, plans and surveys by building can be downloaded from Facility Net to provide to contractors.
Estates Services responsibilities

The Estates Services Compliance team is responsible for the management of asbestos in all buildings used for teaching, learning, research and administration – the University’s functional estate.

This includes:

  • Maintaining an asbestos register of known and suspected asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in the building fabric and fixed services of each building.
  • Ensuring an appropriate management survey has been undertaken for all functional estate buildings constructed prior to 2000.
  • Managing the re-inspection programme to monitor the condition of known and suspected ACMs.
  • Managing a remedial works programme to ensure ACMs are maintained in a good condition, or are removed if necessary.
  • Managing the asbestos consultancy framework contract used for asbestos consultancy, surveys and air monitoring
  • Carrying out reactive asbestos inspections before work starts on any reactive maintenance tasks where there is a risk that ACMs could be disturbed.
  • Providing support to departments in meeting their legal and internal obligations around asbestos management.

Asbestos register and surveys

Any work that will disturb or alter a building’s fabric or services should be assessed against available asbestos information to understand (i) whether known or suspected ACMs could be disturbed by the proposed works, and (ii) whether sufficient survey information is available to make that assessment.

The asbestos register 

The asbestos register is a record of known and suspected ACMs within the building. It is based on a full building management survey, and should be used to provide information on the location of ACMs to those who may be affected – for instance to ensure minor one-off work, or regular maintenance, will not disturb ACMs. In addition to the building asbestos register you can find PDF plans showing which spaces have ACMs, and a copy of the latest management survey report for the building.

Examples of work that should be covered by the information in the register include:

  • fixing to walls (noticeboards, brackets, shelving);
  • simple cable installation using existing holes and containment;
  • limited redecoration; and
  • regular PPM inspection (eg to fire alarms or emergency lighting).

The register will not usually provide sufficient information on asbestos for projects that involve refurbishment or demolition. In such cases a more comprehensive project-specific survey must be undertaken – see R&D surveys below.

If there is doubt whether information in the register or supporting management survey is sufficient, or if you have any difficulty accessing the asbestos register for your building, please contact the Estates Compliance team who will be happy to help.   

Asbestos refurbishment and demolition (R&D) surveys 

A more comprehensive asbestos survey, known as refurbishment and demolition (R&D) survey, is required for any planned project that could disturb ACM, in any building whose construction began before November 1999 (when the use of asbestos was finally banned in construction).

Examples of projects that need an R&D survey include:

  • office refurbishments;
  • demolition of partitions;
  • removal and/or installation of mechanical and electrical services; and
  • repurposing of space.

Some minor planned projects may be covered by an existing management or R&D survey. This assessment must be made by a member of Estates Services Compliance team.

If construction of the building in which the project is planned began after January 2000 a survey is not required.

The guidance document on accessing asbestos consultancy services details the process and timescales involved.

Removing asbestos containing materials (ACMs)

A licensed contractor must carry out all ACM removal (abatement) work. The Compliance team will help arrange this and must be notified of any planned work on asbestos materials, including work undertaken through a Principal Contractor.

You can find out more about the steps you need to take and likely timescales in the Guidance on Asbestos Surveys and Removal document.

Important Documents and Resources

Important Documents and Resources  

Asbestos register 

  • Need access? Contact the Compliance team 

Asbestos register

Departmental Arrangements 

Download (Word) 

Guidance on Asbestos Surveys/Removals 

  • Learn how to arrange asbestos surveys through the UKAS Accredited Consultancy Framework, as well as asbestos removals through the University’s approved licensed contractors. 

Download (PDF) 

 Departmental equipment asbestos register template 

Download template (excel) 

 Training Matrix 

Download (Word)

Suspected Asbestos Disturbance Procedure 

View procedure (PDF)

Suspected asbestos disturbance

The Suspected Asbestos Disturbance Procedure provides a flowchart setting out what to do in an emergency if you suspect that ACMs have been disturbed.

asbestos disturbance procedure flowchart

Flow chart description below image

Flow chart descriptive text:

  • Step 1: Don't Panic; stop work immediately
  • Step 2: Is the area occupied?
    • If yes; Vacate the area immediately
    • If not, is there dust or debris on clothing?
  • Yes; if the debris is on clothing, remove garment(s), and wash exposed areas (skin/hair). [UPDATE COPY]
  • No; restrict access to the doors, add barrier tape
  • Step 3; Report the incident
    • Working Hours: DLO +4401865 2 70087
    • Out of hours: Security Services +44 (0)1865 2 89999

Estates Services Compliance team will assume control and responsibility for the affected area. An asbestos test will be arranged. In the event of a negative test, work can resume; if asbestos is present, further emergency procedures and removal will be implemented.

Emergency and near miss procedure

  1. What to do in case of suspected asbestos disturbance 
  2. Stop work immediately! 
  3. Report incident/near miss to the DLO Helpdesk (Or the Security Services control room if out of hours). 
  4. In the event of a suspected ACM disturbance, the Estates Services embedded surveyor will attend the site to undertake a risk assessment and arrange material and/or air testing as required and will liaise with the Compliance Team to safeguard against further contamination, advise on the next steps, and update the incident register (IRIS)
  5. Even if it emerges that no asbestos has been disturbed, it should be recorded as a near miss as this provides us with vital information. Please ensure that near misses are reported to help prevent future incidents and improve our systems and procedures. 

Help and information  

For help and guidance on any aspect of asbestos management, contact the Estates Services Compliance team at estates.compliance@admin.ox.ac.uk.  

There is also more information in the University policy statement – you can view this on the right-hand side of this page.   

Asbestos register


(Authorised requesters only)

VIEW HERE 

Need Access


If you need access, please contact the Compliance team at estates.compliance@admin.ox.ac.uk. 

University policy on asbestos (S01-22)


DOWNLOAD

Asbestos Policy Infographic


DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Need help?


To request a repair or report a fault, please visit 

HELPDESK

 

Contact us


Estates Services Compliance team
estates.compliance@admin.ox.ac.uk.