Skip to main content

Risk Assessment

Asbestos Knowledge Base

The HSE's requirement for an Asbestos Management Programme includes the requirement to carry out and include risk assessments in, for instance, site surveys. Risk Assessments take many forms and no specific format is deemed as 'correct' except that the risk assessment should always include;

  1. an assessment of the health and safety hazards, and;
  2. risks associated with the working environment.

There is only a need to carry out an risk assessment and writing of a management plan if asbestos is or is liable to be present. This will apply to at least 1.5 million premises. If there is no asbestos found or likely to be in the premises, recording the results of the assessment and making arrangements for review should be sufficient to complete the process.

If you have carried out an inspection or a survey, you will need to risk assess each of the ACMs or presumed ACMs identified. HSE guidance contains algorithms which are simple scoring systems to allow you to rate the risks to health from your ACMs. It is not just whether the ACM will release fibres, but if people are exposed to those fibres once disturbed that determines the risk to health so the risk assessment process is carried out in 2 stages; a material assessment and a priority assessment.

The material assessment looks at the type and condition of the ACM and the ease with which it will release fibres if disturbed. The report prepared by the surveyor (if you have had a survey carried out) should include this. The material assessment will give a good initial guide to the priority for management as it will identify the materials which will most readily release airborne fibres if disturbed. However this may not always indicate high priority for remedial action. The priority assessment will make an assessment of the likelihood of the ACMs being disturbed and will take into account factors such as ;

  • maintenance activities (including cleaning)
  • likelihood of disturbance
  • human exposure potential
  • occupant activity or those visitors to the building

Each ACM is again scored and these scores are added to those for the material assessment to give a total risk assessment score. These individual risk assessment scores for each ACM or presumed ACM can then be ranked and action taken will need to be determined. This action can range from closing and locking the door to the room containing the damaged ACM, to removing it.

More information about the material assessment and the priority assessment are found in Assessing.