Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were commonly used in construction throughout the twentieth century. They were used in various forms, typically to provide thermal insulation and fire protection although by no means exclusively.
The use of asbestos in UK buildings has been progressively prohibited until a complete ban of all use in construction in 1999. Some products containing chrysotile were still available after 1989 although generally in a form that would present a low risk of releasing fibres if damaged. It was generally the University's policy to specify the use of substitute materials that do not contain asbestos where they were available in properties built after1989.
Some buildings owned or occupied by the University of Reading were built or refurbished at a time when the use of ACMs in their construction was common. The presence of an ACM in itself does not constitute a danger. However, there is a potential risk to health if such material is disturbed and damaged.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) places a duty on the University to manage asbestos containing materials (ACMs) where they may be present in buildings.
The University is committed to meet all duties placed upon it by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and specifically will:
- Protect, so far as reasonably practicable, staff, students, contractors and visitors to University properties from any exposure to asbestos fibres.
- Provide adequate resources in support of the Asbestos Management Plan (AMP).
- Identify, so far as is reasonably practicable, all ACMs in University buildings.
- Maintain an asbestos register of all ACMs identified and make it freely accessible to those undertaking work on University properties.
- Implement and maintain an effective Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) to ensure that all ACMs are maintained in a safe condition or alternatively are isolated or removed.
- Promote awareness of the risks from ACMs and the University AMP through training and induction of relevant staff and contractors.
- Appoint a competent and suitably qualified person to undertake the role of Appointed Person as identified in HSE guidance HSG264 'Asbestos: The Survey Guide' (Ref. 2). This role will carry the title Asbestos Co-ordinator.
- Only engage appropriately trained, qualified and competent persons to undertake any work with ACMs (including management, surveying, abatement and removal).
- Provide adequate and timely resources to enable effective implementation of the AMP.
- Regularly review the AMP.
How does the University comply with the legislation?
Asbestos can cause concern but if properly managed ACMs can remain in the University's estate without creating a risk to health. The Asbestos Management Plan Issue 7-1 sets out the University of Reading's policy, organisation and procedures for managing the risks from ACMs in all of its premises.
Estates are responsible for the implementation of the AMP and an "Appointed Person", the Asbestos Co-ordinator (AC), who is a member of Health and Safety Services, is responsible for defining policy and safe working procedures. He maintains the University's Asbestos Register, which identifies the location and condition of all known ACMs in University buildings. The AC routinely undertakes reinspections of ACMs to ensure that they remain in a safe condition, and where necessary issues instructions for remedial work.
Work with ACMs can only be carried out by one of the University's approved Asbestos Framework Contractors under the direction of the AC.
Any Contractors undertaking work in University Buildings built before 1999 must have received asbestos awareness training in accordance with CAR 2012.
In addition to the AMP guidance on asbestos is included in the Site Rules for Working on University Premises
How do I find out information about ACMs in a building?
Information on ACMs is held on the Asbestos Register on the WREN business management system. Staff with the appropriate authority can access the information through WREN/Health and Safety/Asbestos/Asbestos Report Selection/Asbestos Register where they will find this screen:
Where available you should complete the relevant Wren Job or Order details when selecting the location of your report
The asbestos register will be shown in this format:
Where you do not have WREN access, Staff, Consultants and Contractors can access the register through the Electronic Document Management System. You will need a University Username and Password which you can obtain by completing your details here.
Then go to Estates and Facilities/Services/Asbestos and enter your Username and Password. Again you will be prompted to enter Job or Order number details if available
The asbestos register will be shown in this format:
What if I want to do some work in my building?
If minor alterations are planned in a building such as fixing pinboards and shelving then you need to use the Authorisation to Work form and procedure.
This should be sent to the Estates Help Desk.
Estates will review the proposed work to determine whether it can safely be carried out without Estates supervision. As part of the review process, for buildings constructed before 2000 the request form will be forwarded for review to the Asbestos Co-ordinator who will make a suitable and sufficient assessment of asbestos risks in accordance with the AMP. Work cannot start until it has been authorised, in writing, by Estates.
Key activities such as building maintenance, improvement and project works are managed directly by Estates in accordance with the AMP.
If in doubt or if you have any concerns contact:
Health and Safety Services - 0118 378 8888
Estates Help desk 0118 378 7000
All of these numbers may be used in an emergency during normal working hours.
Outside normal working hours, contact the University Security emergency number (0118 378 6300).