SC35 - Asbestos management
06 Dec 2010



STFC Safety Code 35


Management of asbestos

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Asbestos Information



Initial launchMarch 2010
1.1Changes to Responsibilities in section 4,
Modifications to permit in Appendix 3.
January 2011
1.2Further minor changes as a result of rev 1.2June 2012
1.3Amendments to audit checklistMay 2013
Add Document retention policy Appendix
August 2014
Various changes as a result of code audit
September 2015
Update to permit and training requirements 
December 2015 
Update to change STFC policy with regard to asbestos
June 2017
Minor update to reflect launch of SHE Assure and UKRI​
​October 2018​
​Update to training matrix, Appendix 4
​December 2019

NB - The changes to version 2.0 were considerable and readers should assume that significant portions of the body and Appendices have changed.​​

1. Purpose

Exposure to respirable, airborne, asbestos fibres can lead to a range of occupational diseases, for example mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, for which there is no effective treatment or cure.

Asbestos accounts for more work related deaths in the UK than any other cause, typically 5000 per year and rising. A significant number of these occur to those involved in building or building maintenance trades: electricians; plumbers; heating and ventilation engineers; or joiners.

The age of buildings owned by the STFC is such that asbestos was employed routinely during their initial construction most frequently as fire insulation; textured coatings; floor tiles, textiles and composites; sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns; insulating board; lagging and loose in ceiling or floor cavities. Typical examples are illustrated on the HSE website. The age of some scientific facilities operated by the STFC is such that asbestos was also employed routinely as thermal or electrical insulation in scientific equipment.

STFC’s policy is to prevent work-related exposure to asbestos fibres on its sites, and to commence the removal of all asbestos containing materials from its sites/buildings such that they will become asbestos free. This will be achieved by:

  1. ensuring the effective management of asbestos containing materials within its buildings;
  2. the gradual removal of all asbestos from its buildings by safe and efficient means where the opportunity arises; and
  3. adherence to the relevant regulatory requirements, Control of Asbestos Regulations, 2012, associated Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs), official guidance and accepted good practice.

2. Scope

This code applies to STFC sites, facilities and equipment owned by the STFC, and to equipment, materials and samples brought onto STFC sites by facility users, tenants and contractors.

Related SHE codes include:

3. Definitions

3.1 Asbestos and Asbestos containing material (ACM)

Any fibrous forms of the following materials: Crocidolite (blue asbestos); Amosite (brown asbestos); Chrysotile (white asbestos); Anthophyllite; Tremolite; Actinolite and any mixture containing any of these materials.

3.2 Site Asbestos Register

The record of all locations where asbestos containing material is known or presumed to be present at a site in property, plant and equipment, together with historical records of asbestos removed from the site, see Appendix 1.

3.3 Assessment of work

The HSE Approved Code of Practice and Guidance Note L143 requires owners and occupiers of premises who have maintenance and repair responsibilities to assess them for the presence of asbestos and the condition of that asbestos. A written plan identifying the location of any asbestos and measures to manage the risk from that asbestos must be created, the Site Asbestos Register. The assessment of work must be a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk created by any likely exposure to asbestos. The purpose of this assessment is to ensure that the scope of any work is properly considered to establish the extent of any potential risk to persons. It is also to identify legal provisions that apply and to determine the most appropriate work methods. This is to ensure that exposure to asbestos is adequately controlled so that the health of employees and other persons is not put at risk.

3.4 Asbestos Control Officer (ACO)

The ACO should be consulted on all matters concerning asbestos containing materials and no work with asbestos containing materials should be carried out without first consulting the Asbestos Control Officer. There should be typically one ACO per site whose responsibilities are detailed in this code.

3.5 Building work coordinator

Defined in SHE Code 19, Work on buildings, premises and infrastructure.

4 Responsibilities

4.1 Head of Estates ​shall:
  • 4.1.1 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) a suitably qualified and experienced Asbestos Control Officer (ACO) for each site for which they are responsible where there is or is suspected to be asbestos containing materials in the premises, facilities or equipment, recording their appointment in the STFC SHE Directory.
    4.1.1 Appoint in writing a suitably qualified and experienced Asbestos Control Officer (ACO) for each site for which they are responsible where there is or is suspected to be asbestos containing materials in the premises, facilities or equipment, recording their appointment.
  • 4.1.2 Ensure that the ACO has sufficient time, resources and training, see Appendix 4, to undertake this role and manage the disposal of asbestos containing materials safely and without harm to the environment.
  • 4.1.2 Arbitrate any unresolved disagreements arising from the application of this SHE code to remove asbestos from buildings, see section 1.
4.2 Asbestos Control Officers (ACOs) shall:
  • 4.2.1 Provide advice on the safe management and removal of any asbestos containing materials from STFC sites.

  • 4.2.2 Establish and maintain a documented Site Asbestos Register of all known locations of asbestos at a site, see Appendix 1, based on a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey of the site undertaken by a UKAS accredited asbestos surveyor, and notification of equipment or facilities containing asbestos by STFC management. Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys are defined in Asbestos: The Survey Guide, HSG264.

  • 4.2.3 Ensure that read only access to the Site Asbestos Register is made available to all those managing work involving the fabric of buildings, premises, services, plant, equipment and infrastructure (see SHE Code 19 - work on buildings, premises, services and infrastructure), where ACMs are present or presumed to be present, including contractors, tenants and others.

  • 4.2.4 Ensure that where appropriate the location of asbestos containing materials are suitably marked with hazard warning labels. It is not STFC policy to mark the location of all asbestos due to its widespread use in older buildings and the potential to undermine the effectiveness of hazard warning signs.

  • 4.2.5 Establish a monitoring and inspection programme to assess the condition of all known asbestos containing materials to ensure that they remain undisturbed and contained and do not pose a threat to health and safety. For example, they should not be subject to abrasion or damage with the potential to release dust. The frequency of monitoring and inspection shall be determined by the priority code assigned in the asbestos register, see Appendix 1.

  • 4.2.6 Maintain the asbestos register in the light of new asbestos materials reported, removed, re- sealed or encapsulated and the findings of the inspection programme.

  • 4.2.7 Appoint competent:

4.3 Managers, supervisors, contract supervising officers and building work coordinators shall:
  • 4.3.1 Inform the site Asbestos Control Officer of the location of all scientific or other equipment, samples, or facilities that are known to hold asbestos containing materials for inclusion on the Site Asbestos Register.

  • 4.3.2 Prevent the introduction of new asbestos containing materials onto STFC sites for example in building materials, plant or scientific equipment. Where facility users, tenants, or collaborators temporarily or permanently bring equipment or materials onto STFC sites that contain asbestos this should be inspected and the integrity of its containment assessed by the ACO. If the equipment is to remain on STFC sites for greater than 6 months this should be recorded in the Site Asbestos Register.

  • 4.3.3 Maintain general vigilance and awareness of the condition of and work in areas or on equipment containing asbestos. Inform the ACO whenever existing installations, plant or equipment including asbestos containing material, are damaged, deteriorating or inadequately sealed to effect its removal or appropriate containment.

  • 4.3.4 Ensure that all those whose work, directly or through others, could potentially disturb asbestos containing materials secured within the fabric of STFC sites/buildings undertake Asbestos Awareness training, see Appendix 4.
  • 4.3.5 Provide STFC tenants for whom they are responsible with documented copies of asbestos register entries for the areas they lease. This information should include details of the asbestos types and locations together with details of the amount of asbestos. Tenants should be given a copy of SHE code 19 "Work on buildings, premises, services and infrastructure" and informed that they should not undertake any works on the fabric of the premises they occupy.
  • 4.3.6 Ensure all building work projects (as defined in SHE code 19) presumes the removal of asbestos containing materials directly affected by the works to the extent that is reasonable in the circumstances to do so. Appendix 5 provides examples of how this requirement may be applied in practice.
  • For those managing work on the fabric of buildings, equipment or science facilities in which ACMs are present, presumed or could reasonably be expected to be present:
  • 4.3.7 Ensure that staff, contractors and others:

    • understand how to recognise asbestos and what to do in the event of finding actual or suspected asbestos containing materials;

    • are provided with all relevant information from the Site Asbestos Register relating to the type, location and amounts of asbestos in areas or equipment where they are being asked to work, including refurbishment or demolition surveys where they have been undertaken;

    • undertake a risk assessment and provide method statements for reactive, emergency or planned work in areas containing asbestos, or which could reasonably be expected to contain asbestos, see SHE Code 19, Work on buildings, premises, services and infrastructure addressing asbestos hazards. This should include a visual inspection of all work in concealed spaces prior to planning such work. The removal of all ACMs should be managed with the agreement of and in liaison with the ACO, see 4.3.6;

    • where contractors are employed to work on asbestos containing materials they must have been approved by the ACO, see 4.2.7;

    • where their work does not involve asbestos they must be advised that asbestos may be present;

    • cease all work when actual or suspected ACMs are found sealing the area as far as possible; and

    • report instances where the unexpected presence of ACMs is found or suspected in a state where they have or could have released airborne dusts immediately to relevant management, Contract Supervising Officer, ACO and as a SHE Incident, see SHE Code 5 Incident Reporting and Investigation.
  • 4.3.8 When removing asbestos containing materials use only licensed asbestos removal contractors under a permit to work, see Appendix 3.
  • 4.3.9 Ensure independent UKAS accredited asbestos analysts are contracted to undertake sampling and air monitoring of planned work programmes, providing dates, times, periods when the asbestos works are planned. Only allow people to return to areas where asbestos work has been undertaken where it is safe to do so following air monitoring tests by accredited asbestos analysts, see 4.2.7.
  • 4.3.10 When managing work in areas where asbestos is present or suspected is to be present and not requiring the use of licensed asbestos removal contractors (non-licensed work - see ref 5.4) ensure that the work is conducted under an Asbestos Permit to Work, see Appendix 3. Such works may require the completion of reassurance air testing during and after the works are undertaken.
  • 4.3.11 Ensure where a building or structure is to be refurbished or demolished that a demolition asbestos survey (formerly called a type 3 – invasive survey) is undertaken prior to demolition or refurbishment to identify the location of all asbestos within the area. Ensure that all asbestos containing wastes arising from work on the site are disposed of safely and according to the relevant environmental legislation by the licensed asbestos removal contractor on behalf of the STFC. Consignment notes for all asbestos disposals from STFC sites shall be retained by the ACO. Asbestos containing wastes shall be suitably contained prior to transport by licensed waste carriers and disposed of at waste disposal sites licensed to dispose of asbestos containing materials, see HSE guidance EM9, Disposal of asbestos waste.
4.4 Staff, facility users, tenants and contractors shall:
  • 4.4.1 Maintain general vigilance for asbestos containing materials.
  • 4.4.2 Adhere to the requirements of SHE Code 19 and not intentionally damage or disturb any ACMs
  • 4.4.3 In the event of ACMs (or suspected ACMs) being unintentionally disturbed or damaged, or unexpectedly discovered:
    1. immediately stop work, evacuate the area and if possible seal the area to prevent spread of ACMs;
    2. Contact Estates teams for emergency assistance;
    3. decontaminate self and seal to prevent further contamination any clothing or other materials removed from affected work area by double bagging;
    4. Prevent people from entering the area until assistance arrives;
    5. DO NOT attempt to sweep, vacuum or clean any debris or dust; and
    6. Notify your line manager or STFC contact and report the incident in accordance with SHE Code 5 without delay.

5. References

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)