06 Jun Is asbestos a headache on your construction project? It’s time to call in the experts
Developers and builders know that any project which involves asbestos means they need to act with great caution.
Any waste which has 0.1% asbestos is covered by stringent regulations.
Breathing in asbestos fibres, which can cause lung cancer and the fatal lung disease, asbestosis, is dangerous to their employees and the general public – and all businesses have a legal duty of care to protect both from harm.
Anyone coming into contact with asbestos in work must also be trained to deal with it safely and comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The Health and Safety Executive has issued guidelines which say asbestos waste must be packed in UN-approved packaging. A CDG hazard label and information about the asbestos code must be visible.
Asbestos should be double-wrapped and labelled. The HSE advises using a red inner bag with asbestos warnings, and a clear outer bag with the CDG label.
It says large pieces should not be broken up, instead they should be double-wrapped in 1000-gauge polythene sheeting and labelled.
Asbestos is also covered by the hazardous waste regulations, which means that removing and transporting it is governed by strict regulations.
You must classify it, that includes describing its chemical make-up and how it was produced, and you cannot mix it with non-hazardous waste, or different types of hazardous waste
It must be transported by someone with a waste carrier’s licence in a sealed skip or a vehicle with a segregated compartment.
It must also be taken to a suitably licensed waste disposal site
You need a consignment note to transport any commercial hazardous waste, including moving it between your own sites. That also includes removal by registered waste carriers.
Any site accepting hazardous waste without a consignment note, or an incomplete one, may be committing an offence.
You need to keep a copy of the consignment note for three years.
How do you choose the right registered waste carrier?
Check on their registration– Ensure the carrier is registered with the proper authorities. In England, that’s the Environment Agency, in Wales, Natural Resources Wales, in Scotland, it’s the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, in Northern Ireland it’s the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.
Check on their experience– Have they transported asbestos waste before? Do they understand all the regulations surrounding it, and the implications of the 2012 Act? Can they put you in touch with companies for whom they have worked in the past?
Check on the end destination– Choose the suitable end destination yourself or ensure your carrier is taking the asbestos waste to a facility which has the correct licence. If a consignment is turned away by a facility, you could find it coming back to your site and the process of waste removal could end up being more time-consuming and costly than you imagined.