The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 place clear duties on employers (and other dutyholders) to manage the risks from asbestos in non-domestic buildings.
Who is the 'dutyholder'
Those holding duties to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises could be the owner, the occupier, a managing agent or anyone else with responsibilities in the property.
The legal definition of dutyholder, from the regulations, is:
- every person who has, by virtue of a contract or tenancy, an obligation of any extent in relation to the mainteneance or repair of non-domestic premsies or any means of access thereto or egress therefrom; or
- in relation to any part of non-domestic premises where there is no such contract or tenancy, every person who has, to any extent, control of that part of those non-domestic premises or any means of access thereto or egress therefrom.
Where there is more than one dutyholder, responsibility will be shared, based on their relative duties for maintenance and repair.
Legal duty to manage asbestos
Regulation 4 requires the dutyholder(s) to carry out a 'suitable and sufficient' assessment to determine whether asbestos is, or is liable, to be present in the premises. Not only must they assess the presence of any asbestos, the assessment must also cover the likely or actual condition of it.
Where the assessment finds that asbestos is, or is likely to be, present, then the dutyholder must go on to determine the risks that may ensue from it being there. They must also prepare a written plan identifying where asbestos is or is likely to be and the measures that they are taking to manage the risks.
Further information on the duty to manage asbestos can be found on the HSE's website.