The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) places duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the responsible person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).
Exposure to asbestos is reportable under RIDDOR when a work activity causes the accidental release or escape of asbestos fibres into the air in a quantity sufficient to cause damage to the health of any person. Such situations are likely to arise when work is carried out without suitable controls, or where those controls fail – they often involve:
- use of power tools (to drill, cut etc) on most ACMs
- work that leads to physical disturbance (knocking, breaking, smashing) of an ACM that should only be handled by a licensed contractor eg sprayed coating, lagging, asbestos insulating board (AIB)
- manually cutting or drilling AIB
- work involving aggressive physical disturbance of asbestos cement eg breaking or smashing
If these activities are carried out without suitable controls, or the precautions fail to control exposure, these would be classed as a ‘dangerous occurrence’ under RIDDOR and should be reported.
Remember, if you need to report a dangerous occurrence relating to asbestos, you should review your asbestos management plan or your working practices.