Asbestos Risk Management

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Asbestos Risk Management: A Guide for Property Owners, Managers and Contractors

Asbestos in non-domestic premises poses many potential risks that need to be carefully managed. Asbestos exposure carries many risks to health, and it is crucial to ensure any person who has access to the premises is not exposed to unsafe asbestos materials which could lead to them developing serious health problems.  

Any building constructed before 2000 may contain asbestos. Every business premises is subject to an inspection, and it is a legal requirement to ascertain if you have asbestos containing materials. It is also a requirement to document if there is no asbestos present on the premises. 

An asbestos survey can provide clarity on whether your premises contains asbestos and how to manage your asbestos risk, as some asbestos materials may be deemed more hazardous to health than others. 



Who is responsible for managing the risk of asbestos? 

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 states that the duty to safely manage asbestos risk lies with the owner of the premises. Owners and, in some cases, leaseholders with buildings that contain asbestos have a responsibility to manage asbestos risk. If the asbestos containing materials are deemed too hazardous to manage, they will also be responsible for arranging the removal of these harmful materials.  

The duty to manage asbestos at non-domestic premises as outlined in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires the duty holder to adhere to strict guidelines on asbestos management. They will be responsible for updating the asbestos register and notifying builders and other contractors who carry out work likely to disturb asbestos. If removing the asbestos is necessary, the duty holder is also required to employ a licenced contractor if the asbestos materials are deemed high risk.  

In some cases, the leaseholder of a premises takes on part or all responsibility, depending on the agreement in place. For public buildings such as hospitals and schools, this responsibility may depend on the agreement for the maintenance and management of the premises. From September 2022 the HSE started nationwide inspections in schools to ensure asbestos risks are being managed correctly. Duty holders within schools and other public buildings should take extra care to ensure they have updated their asbestos register and all other relevant documentation.  



Do I need to tell my insurer about asbestos in my commercial property? 

The presence of asbestos in a commercial property can present many risks, therefore it is crucial to inform your insurer in as much detail as possible. However, this does not mean that cover won’t be available, provided adequate steps are being taken to manage your asbestos risk. A recent asbestos survey and asbestos risk assessment will provide clarity around the risks posed by the asbestos materials in your commercial property. The terms of your policy will require that you to keep the asbestos register up to date, and ensure any builders or contractors who carry out work on the building are aware of the location and type of asbestos materials present.  



Insurance for licenced asbestos removal contractors 

Construction sectors that are considered high risk by insurers often involve those working at heights with dangerous materials such as asbestos, or other hazards such as heat or fumes. These hazards can increase the likelihood or severity of injury or illness caused by the working environment, therefore it is crucial that health and safety best practice is followed to protect both employees and members of the public from serious harm.  

Businesses involved in asbestos removal or other high risk activities will need comprehensive Employers Liability and Public Liability insurance: 

Employers’ Liability (EL) insurance with a minimum cover of £5m is a legal requirement for any UK business, although many policies offer a higher level of cover as standard. EL insurance is designed to protect the business from claims of injury or illness made by employees. Typically, this will cover any legal costs incurred and compensation awarded to the claimant.  

Public Liability insurance covers third party claims resulting from injury or damage to property, due to an insured’s business activities. Third-party claims are one of the most common claims made against contractors in the construction sector, so it’s important to have the right cover in place to protect your business. 

Employers’ Liability and Public Liability insurance are crucial for those operating in high-risk sectors, as the risk of liability claims is greater and the sums awarded are often higher due to the severity of the illness or injury. These risks mean that it can also be difficult for businesses to access affordable insurance premiums because of the potential risks to both employee and public health. Insuring through a broker with expert knowledge of the construction sector and access to a range of insurers can help you find the most appropriate and best value cover. 

Tysers also covers other construction sectors considered high risk, and can arrange covers including scaffolders insurance, roofers insurance, insurance for demolition, cladding contractors, piling, underpinning & tunnelling, bridges & viaducts and structural steel erection.  



Why choose Tysers? 

Tysers specialist teams can cover a wide range of commercial activities and risks. Our Property Management team insure a range of commercial and industrial properties, construction companies and developer portfolios.  

Tysers also has a team of dedicated construction specialists with comprehensive knowledge of the sector including protecting risks specifically faced by businesses carrying out high risk activities. Our brokers work with clients to fully understand their requirements before going to market to source the most comprehensive and best value cover.  

We have extremely strong relationships with a range of insurers in the construction sector, including access to Lloyd’s of London syndicates and other well established specialist underwriters. This allows us to obtain cost effective, tailored solutions for our clients including those with risks that have traditionally been challenging to insure and demand very high premiums.  



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