Asbestos in Soils - VHE Experience Supporting New Industry Guidance
01 March 2016
There is widespread acknowledgment across the industry that there remains a degree of uncertainty on understanding the risks posed by asbestos in soil and made ground, as well as managing this within its legal context. To address this, the Asbestos in Soil Joint Industry Working Group (JIWG) was formed in November 2011 and comprises a number of relevant organisations seeking support from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. The group are working towards the publication of the ‘Guidance on the Control of Asbestos in Soil and Construction & Demolition Materials’, which is due for publication early 2016.
In conjunction with this, the Asbestos in Soil JIWG recently released BETA versions of two decision support tools. These assist in determining the categorisation of work with asbestos under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 and in qualitatively assessing the risks associated with the work activities. Currently VHE are trialling these tools using data from previous projects to provide feedback for the JIWG.
Similarly, CIRIA are working on publishing their ‘Asbestos in Soils: Good Practice on Site’ pocket guide that has been developed following the publication of their ‘Asbestos in Soil and Made Ground: A guide to Managing Risks’, released in 2014. This will be a concise guide to provide site management teams and personnel with clear procedures for managing asbestos containing soils safely and legally. Being highly relevant to our daily activities, VHE are keen supporters of this project with funding and attendance at the recent steering group meeting and are looking forward to putting the guide into practice when it is published early this year.
We understand that our staff are the key instrument to delivering sustainable, legally compliant projects so providing personnel with up to date information on current issues is fundamental to this. VHE recently organised a bespoke Asbestos in Soils training course for all staff with responsibility for managing the risks associated with asbestos in soils. This was led by CIRIA and based on the soon to be released CIRIA pocket guide. Additional training in the last 6 months includes a similarly tailored CIWM course on the WM3 waste classification guide, released in 2015. This detailed the changes made from WM2, including the legal context of waste management and how to use the guide to ensure we accurately classify our waste prior to consignment.
Between training, we provide regular briefing notes to staff via our online management system, with the next planned to inform staff of the change to the ending of premises notification and the hazardous waste consignment note, due to be in force in April this year.