HSE publishes changes to asbestos guidance

The 4 key takeaways from the updated Asbestos Analysts Guide

The long awaited first revision to the HSG248 Asbestos Analysts Guide has been released, and has provided additional guidance for analytical organisations, licensed contractors and clients. Having read through the guide in detail, here are the points you need to know about:

1. Stronger impartiality requirements

Clients should employ the analyst directly and ensure they have no links or relationship with the Licensing Contractor, with a stronger emphasis on the employer for impartiality and to avoid a conflict of interest. The removal company should never be appointing their own analyst.

2. Four Stage Clearance (4SC) Procedure has been beefed-up

Main Changes are as follows:

  • The analyst must advise the client of an estimated time of completion. If the actual time differs by more than 20%, an explanation must be provided.
  • The 4SC will be failed should any additional cleaning of the area be required over 10 minutes.
  • Analysts breaks during lengthy visuals are now every 2-3 hours for powered RPE and every one hour for non-powered RPE
  • Stricter rules have been introduced surrounding analysts entering the decontamination unit and not wearing street clothes under their disposable overalls.
  • Full photographic record of all four stages must be made based on information within the revised guide.

Ultimately, what this will mean is more time spent on site by the analyst to carry out clearance and relevant due diligence now required.

3. New guidance for asbestos in soils and made ground

New guidance has been issued focusing on sampling of soils and when this is and isn’t required. It may be helpful for clients to consider whether they require sampling as part of the preliminary or main survey of reclaimed sites prior to works to assess the likelihood of asbestos being present on the site. For guidance or advice on asbestos in soils issues contact [email protected]

4. In-depth dust sampling

The new guide also offers further clarification on dust and swab sample results. The HSE does not recommend sampling and analysis in settled dust except in specific circumstances where the spread of asbestos from a substantial recent release incident is being investigated. Furthermore, dust sampling should not be routine as part of a survey. Whilst these tests are more thorough, it may cost more and lead to further expense, so it is worth weighing up the options.

Other matters covered include….

  • The HSE has proposed more analyst involvement starting from the preparation of risk assessments and plans of work.
  • Licensed Contractors need to clean up after themselves: Upon completing the abatement works, it is the responsibility of the Supervisor of the Contractor to carry out the initial inspection of the work area, only when this has been done and deemed satisfactory and clean can the analyst enter. While this should already be common practice, this is now being further enforced as part of this guide.
  • The amount of quality checks required has increased, following concerns raised in the Asbestos Analyst Inspection Programme report.
  • The HSE has also provided a template to record more data to capture level of exposure and further risk mitigation. This combined with additional advice on refresher training cover quality control measures and in house procedures which should have no impact on the client.

If you require any advice on this or other matters pertaining to asbestos please contact us at [email protected]