What are asbestos audits?
Asbestos audits are investigations carried out by qualified individuals (either an appointed asbestos coordinator within your business or a qualified representative of a third party organisation) in which areas that have been registered as containing asbestos are closely evaluated in order to determine whether or not they need to be removed in order to maintain a safe working environment.
The goal of asbestos audits is to non-invasively identify and assess the risk of asbestos in the workplace. This is the first step of asbestos management, and the findings of these audit services are used to inform the actions and procedures of a business going forward when it comes to the management of asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Asbestos registers, testing and the removal of ACMs are then considered.
What are the two key components of asbestos audits?
There are two parts that make up an asbestos audit, both of which are equally important. Proper implementation of these two factors result in a more effective asbestos management plan, and therefore the safest possible work environment for employees.
The first part of an asbestos audit is an inspection undertaken by an experienced asbestos professional such as an asbestos assessor, consultant or auditor. In order to conduct this inspection, the asbestos auditor will require access to your asbestos register. This register contains all of the areas where potential ACMs have been identified, and whether or not they are accessible.
Because asbestos is invisible to the naked eye, the golden rule is to treat areas that you suspect contain asbestos as though they do contain asbestos. Therefore, the goal of the inspection is to determine the likelihood of ACMs in specific areas of your building.
The audit report
The auditor will then compile a report of their findings, outlining where ACMs may be in your workplace building, as well as whether or not your business compliance needs attention. There is a lot that you then have to do with this information, including:
- Updating all of your asbestos registers in the event that any changes have arisen
- Create new asbestos registers for any newly discovered ACMs
- Reevaluate the asbestos management plan to make sure it is still effective and make changes where necessary
- Alert all employees as to all of these changes
The key point of these sections is that asbestos audits are only as effective as the effort you put into them as a business owner. If your preparatory work is dissatisfactory (i.e. your registers are not up to date, your staff have not been briefed, your procedures are not outlined, etc.) you are compromising the integrity of the audit. Additionally, if you do not act on the results of the report, you are missing out on a crucial segment of your asbestos management responsibilities.
What types of asbestos audits are there?
Ultimately, all of these surveys outline important details for your business to act upon in order to ensure workplace safety and compliance with regards to asbestos, such as:
- The asbestos containing materials present in your workplace
- The condition of these asbestos containing materials
- Your compliance obligations as a business
Asbestos audits take the form of surveys that typically fall under two kinds of categories.
These categories are defined by the purpose that they are supposed to serve, i.e.
Asbestos Management Surveys
This kind of asbestos audit is meant for the management of asbestos in the day-to-day operations of your business. This type of audit contains an inspection that is characterised as non intrusive. It includes the sampling of suspect materials which are then sent to the laboratory to report on the presence of asbestos and its type. The audit will also inform you on your legal obligations to ensure the compliance of your business.
Asbestos Refurbishment/Development Surveys
Unlike asbestos management surveys, this kind of asbestos audit (also known as a scope specific sample and test) is conducted under the specific circumstance that your business is due to be refurbished or demolished (this can take the form of capital works, large renovations or major structural changes. The aim of this survey type is to investigate the property belonging to your business to identify asbestos containing materials so they can be managed safely; or as is usually the case, removed safely in line with the regulations before the strip-out and re-fit.
What is the best way to support any asbestos audits in your workplace?
Octfolio is a simple yet effective asbestos software solution that lets you control the management of your asbestos assets. It contains every function that you need in order to successfully handle all aspects of asbestos management services, including;
- Asset management
- Report management
- Document management
- Maintenance management
- Digital asbestos register
- Field data collection
- Automated reporting
- Workflow automation
- Asbestos mapping software