Surveyors Risk Assessment
Firstly, The Health and Safety Issues
Undertaking an asbestos survey will present health and safety issues to the asbestos surveyors and others. Therefore before carrying out a site survey, it is important that an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of surveyors, sampling personnel and other occupants is carried out.
The client should provide information relating to any hazards specific to the site.
The information should be obtained at the “collection” stage. The types of hazards (in
addition to asbestos) which may be associated with surveys include:
• Working at heights, in ceiling voids or on a fragile roof
• working on operable machinery or plant;
• working in confined spaces;
• chemical hazards;
• electrical hazards;
• biological hazards;
• noise hazards; and
• lone working.
There may also be other specific hazards in certain types of premises eg
• hospitals and nuclear plant have radiological hazards
(Often asbestos surveyors will be seeing the site for the first time so will have little chance to evaluate the site-specific hazards that are involved and will rely on the risk assessment made based on information gathered during the preliminary site meeting and walk-through.)
Secondly, The Asbestos Surveyors Risk Assessment
The asbestos surveyors risk assessment should be prepared by the surveyor. It should establish all the hazards and go on to identify the correct precautions and procedures in a Plan of Work for the survey. The risk assessment should specifically include the need to prevent disturbance of ACMs as far as possible and to prevent the spread eg it should identify safe work procedures (eg controls to be used while taking samples, arrangements for entering contaminated areas), PPE to be used and decontamination and disposal arrangements.
Unlike the Management asbestos surveys the Refurbishment/Demolition surveys are more likely to present some serious health and safety hazards due to the intrusive and destructive nature of the work eg electrical (improve/expand this). The risks to surveyors, sampling personnel and other occupants should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable.
And finally, In all cases assessing the risks, asbestos surveyors should consult the appropriate HSE guidance.