Asbestos Policy Lead officer: Date agreed: Review date: Working together to deliver quality homes and a better environment for all

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1 Asbestos Policy Lead officer: Jeff Scott Date agreed: May 2013 Review date: May 2016 Working together to deliver quality homes and a better environment for all Page 1 of 11

2 Contents Page 1 Introduction 3 2 Aims 3 3 Scope 4 4 Locating asbestos materials 4 5 Asbestos sampling procedure 5 6 Survey results 5 7 Labelling 5 8 Records 6 9 Inspection 6 10 Remedial measures 6 11 Information for customers 7 12 Information for contractors 8 13 Work with asbestos materials 8 14 Training 8 15 After hours emergencies 8 16 Contacting the service 9 17 Responsibilities 9 18 Relevant legislation 9 19 Other documents to be read in conjunction with this policy 20 Monitoring and review Appendix 1 Asbestos Sampling Flowchart Page 2 of 11

3 Introduction The purpose of this policy is to describe the arrangements in place to protect health and safety with asbestos based materials within the housing stock, which is managed by East Durham Homes. There are also individual safe working procedures for specific tasks which might expose employees to asbestos dust. Asbestos is a natural material (a fibrous silicate) found in rocks all over the world. It has been commercially used for about 150 years because it is strong, flexible, stable and fire proof. The three main types of asbestos that were used in the UK are: Chyrsotile (White asbestos) Amosite (Brown asbestos) Crocidolite (Blue asbestos) These cannot be identified by their colour alone. Even if there is asbestos in a property, it is unlikely to be a serious problem. Asbestos only becomes dangerous when it gets damaged over time or is disturbed when work is carried out. The health risks from asbestos materials are related to the release of airborne dust fibres. Sound, undisturbed materials do not pose a direct health risk, however, they need to be carefully managed to monitor any deterioration in their condition and prevent accidental fibre release. Aims The aims of the policy are to: Provide a high quality asbestos management service for our customers. Set out our approach to dealing with the sampling and management of potential asbestos containing materials in council owned properties. Make our customers and contractors aware of the presence of asbestos containing materials when found and the procedures in place to deal with these. To protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, contractors and partners during the asbestos management process. Page 3 of 11

4 Scope This policy applies to the staff, customers and contractors of East Durham Homes. Locating asbestos materials It is the responsibility of East Durham Homes under the management agreement to ensure that materials in Council dwellings are accurately identified and managed. Dwellings are surveyed in accordance with Asbestos: The survey guide (HSG264), published by the Health and Safety Executive. This document describes two types of asbestos survey: Management surveys management surveys are the standard survey. Their purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition Refurbishment and demolition surveys refurbishment and demolition surveys are needed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This type of survey is used to locate and describe, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. It also refers to a mixture of survey types being used on occasions. The surveys that will be carried out on void dwellings will vary depending on the nature and extent of the work to be carried out. In all cases, details of the extent of the survey and areas omitted are carefully recorded. Whilst domestic premises are not covered by regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, to comply with other statutory requirements we need to know the location and condition of all asbestos materials. Arrangements are therefore in place to collect information on all council dwellings. In the interim all premises which have not been checked will be categorised as not tested and appropriate temporary safeguards are in place (properties not tested are identified on the housing management system as shown on flowchart appendix 1). Page 4 of 11

5 Asbestos sampling procedure A flowchart has been prepared to aid those who are involved in asbestos management arrangements. A copy of the flowchart is attached as appendix 1 to this policy. Survey results Whenever asbestos materials are identified during surveys, as described above, a site specific risk assessment of the individual material is carried out by the surveyor and included in the survey report. In accordance with the official guidance (HSG264), this is an assessment of the potential to release fibres. The survey results will be summarised in table format. The summary table will contain the following information: Location of the ACMs; Extent of the ACMs; Product type; Level of identification of the ACM; and Asbestos type in the ACM. For a management survey (and refurbishment and demolition surveys where the work is not imminent), the following additional information will be provided: Accessibility of the ACM Amount of damage or deterioration; Surface treatment (if any) The material assessment score or category; Any actions required from the material assessment. As the survey information is received by us it is reviewed and further assessed taking into account factors such as the location of the asbestos material, its extent and the likely activity in the immediate vicinity. Labelling In non-living areas of Council dwellings (e.g. loft spaces); all identified asbestos materials will be conspicuously labelled, as a further precaution. The condition of labels will be monitored as part of the inspection regime and replacements will be readily available to immediately re-label where necessary. It is considered inappropriate to label materials in living areas of Council dwellings. No attempt will be made to label external materials e.g. asbestos cement roofs, cladding. Page 5 of 11

6 We will explain the labelling information to our customers to ensure that they understand it and its implications. Records We will keep accurate records of all premises that contain these materials on a dedicated electronic database, based on the reports from our appointed consultants (see Locating Asbestos Materials above). In addition to the precise location and nature of these materials, the records will also indicate the date when the materials were last inspected and information on their condition at that time. The database for this purpose is linked to the housing management computer system so that all relevant employees can access the data. All Partnering contractors are to be provided with an electronic link which enables them to access the survey database of our sampling contractor. Morrison Facilities Services (MFS), our partnering contractor for responsive and void repairs, are also provided with a copy of the information stored on the housing management system on a weekly basis. Our partnering contractors who carry out planned works on our behalf are given site specific information in advance of them starting the work. Inspection High risk materials, for example, asbestos insulating boards (AIBs) will be inspected on an annual basis. A re-inspection forward plan has been developed for all identified high risk materials in council owned dwellings, along with all asbestos containing materials identified in communal areas. This will result in known asbestos materials being visually examined, and observations being formally recorded. If materials have deteriorated to the point where it is reasonably foreseeable that significant dust will be released, remedial action will be considered (see Remedial Measures below). Remedial measures When materials are in a poor condition and dust release is reasonably foreseeable, each situation will be assessed in terms of appropriate remedial action. If the material in poor condition is unlikely to be disturbed, appropriate repair work and sealing should be considered initially. If repair and sealing is not feasible, and/or the material in question is liable to be disturbed, it will be necessary to consider removal. These assessments are the responsibility of the Page 6 of 11

7 Property Investment Unit, who will seek advice from the Health and Safety Advisor. Where removal is necessary the Asbestos Containing Materials will be replaced with fire resisting materials, where appropriate. Information for customers All customers receive written information regarding any identified asbestos materials in occupied premises; this includes an advice leaflet accredited by the Plain English campaign. The information advises on the type and location of any such materials and any associated health risks and precautions required (e.g. not to work with or disturb the material). This information is forwarded as soon as possible after the presence of asbestos has been confirmed. When the tenancy changes the relevant Tenancy Management Officer will ensure that all new tenants receive this information. Audits will take place to check that this has occurred. Where inspections indicate remedial action is needed, customers will be advised on the nature of this action and the reasons why it is needed. Customers who are concerned that a surface in their home may contain asbestos materials should contact our Asbestos section for advice. Information and advice is also available on our website and at our head office reception, and at our Outlets in Peterlee & Seaham. Partnering contractors are required to promptly inform customers where asbestos removal is to take place. This information will be provided both in writing and verbally. The information should inform the customer of: the location of the asbestos the work that will be undertaken to remove the asbestos the control measures that will be in place to ensure the safety of the customer while the removal of the asbestos material takes place the importance of their co-operation with any requests or instructions given in relation to the removal of the asbestos in order to protect their health and safety We welcome calls from customers using Typetalk and offer the use of Language Line to customers. Page 7 of 11

8 We will send information in an appropriate format or language for example, large print, text message, etc. We will also provide home visits, where requested and same sex or chaperoned visits. Information for contractors Systems have been established to ensure that relevant information on the presence, type and location of asbestos material is brought to the attention of all contractors, supervisors and operatives. Repairs and maintenance job requests generated by the housing management system include asbestos warnings, where appropriate. It will then be the responsibility of the Supervisor and Operatives to ensure safe working methods are adhered to. The Health and Safety Advisor provides advice on Safe Working Methods for EDH employees and checks on the method statements of contractors. Information on asbestos materials will also be included in the relevant project documents issued to prospective contractors, to ensure compliance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) Work with asbestos materials Work with asbestos materials can only be carried out by suitable Health and Safety Executive licensed specialist contractors, except for certain categories of low risk work, as defined in the Control of Asbestos Regulations All managers who arrange any work with asbestos are responsible for complying with relevant procedures and if in doubt for seeking advice and assistance from the Health and Safety Advisor. Training Asbestos awareness training in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive s approved code of practice is provided to all employees whose work might bring them into contact with asbestos containing materials. The company will also ensure that all contractors personnel will have received an appropriate level of training. After hours emergencies Information is available via our Contact Centre, who have access to the housing management system who will make contact with the relevant personnel who can Page 8 of 11

9 gain access to the asbestos database, if required. This service is available Monday to Friday and on Saturdays. Outside of these hours information will be provided by Sitex Orbis who are the appointed EDH contractor. Contacting the service Customers can request information regarding asbestos in the following ways: By telephone at any time direct to our Contact Centre on FREEPHONE or if phoning from a mobile phone By e mail to By fax to Over the internet at using our repairs reporting form By texting the word Repair to In person at one of our outlets By letter To any of our staff on site Care Services - customers can use their intercom to contact the warden or warden services. We welcome calls from customers using Typetalk and offer the use of Language Line to customers. Responsibilities All staff have responsibility to follow this policy. The Adaptations and Asbestos Manager is responsible for the implementation of this policy. Relevant legislation Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Page 9 of 11

10 Other documents to be read in conjunction with this policy Repairs and Maintenance Strategy Health & Safety Executive - Asbestos: The survey guide (HSG264) Health & Safety Executive Comprehensive guide to managing Asbestos in Premises (HSG227) Monitoring and review The Asbestos Working Group will monitor the implementation of this policy. The policy will be reviewed in May please note that the review date stated is for guidance only. This policy will be reviewed in line with corporate, legislative and government priorities and will remain valid until the policy is next reviewed. Page 10 of 11

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