Asbestos work plan: what it is, when it is mandatory and how to draw it up


Emma Potter

Until a few decades ago, asbestos was often used in the construction field in Italy. Unfortunately, however, its presence in buildings built in past years represents a possible risk to our health and the environment in general.

It therefore becomes essential asbestos removal and asbestos materials through a detailed remediation plan. Here then is the importance and obligatory nature of an asbestos work plan drawn up according to the precise criteria dictated by Legislative Decree 81/2008.

What is it, when is it mandatory and how is this fundamental document drawn up? Let's find out in the following paragraphs.

Asbestos worktop: what is it

The asbestos work plan is a written document in which, in advance, they are planned the necessary measures to be taken to ensure the safety and health in interventions aimed at demolishing or removing asbestos or materials containing asbestos from structures and buildings.

The work phases and the technical and organizational measures envisaged by the asbestos work plan must necessarily consider the dangers associated with asbestos and all other generic risks common to the work to be carried out on construction sites.

This is a document of enormous importance for the purposes of asbestos removal, a work plan provided for by article 256 of Legislative Decree 81/08 which must contain within it the start date of the interventions and the program with the of the actual removal activity.

The reference legislation

Once we have clarified the concept of the asbestos worktop and its extreme usefulness, let's now move on to knowing the relevant legislation.

Legislative Decree 81/08, Consolidated Law on Safety, provides precise indications on the dangers related to exposure to asbestos and the related legal obligations. To this end, the regulatory provision dictates precise indications to employers in relation to the obligations to be respected and regarding the drafting of the work plan in the removal or demolition activities of asbestos.

In detail, Legislative Decree 81/08 establishes:

  • in article 250, first paragraph, as before starting interventions at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, employers are obliged to submit a notification to the competent control body;Article 250 – Notification
    “Before starting the works referred to in article 246, the employer submits a notification to the supervisory body competent for the territory. This notification can be carried out electronically, including through joint bodies or employers' trade union organisations.”
  • article 256, second paragraph, instead provides for the preparation, before the start of demolition or asbestos removal interventions, of a specific work plan. An obligation on employers who must send the plan to the competent supervisory body at least thirty days before the start of the interventions.Article 256 – Demolition or asbestos removal work
    “The employer, before starting demolition or removal works of asbestos or materials containing asbestos from buildings, structures, appliances and systems, as well as from means of transport, prepares a work plan.”

The law therefore leaves no doubts or room for interpretation on the obligatory nature of the preparation of the asbestos work plan, in cases of works connected to the removal or demolition of asbestos or materials containing asbestos.

Asbestos work plan: drafting and contents

The asbestos work plan must show the individual processes and all the activities that the contracting company must carry out on the construction site. Based on the regulatory provisions of article 256 of Legislative Decree 81/08, this document must contain the following information:

  • the company's identification data;
  • methods of removing asbestos and materials containing asbestos;
  • indication of the supply of personal protective equipment;
  • decontamination measures for workers;
  • the measures to be adopted for the protection of third parties and for the disposal of materials;
  • the actions to be implemented in the event that asbestos levels exceed safety limits;
  • the start date of the works, the estimated duration of the interventions, the location and the techniques used.

To go into more detail, the asbestos work plan must include:

  • information of a general nature, such as the company name of the company carrying out the works, the appointment of the responsible technician, information on the location, the type of property, the start date of the works and their duration, the number of workers involved;
  • the object of the interventions, i.e. the type of work to be undertaken, the materials used, the weight of the materials involved in removal, the elevations of the building and structures containing asbestos;
  • the working techniques, with the description of the different work phases and the protective and preventive measures, the indications regarding the use of ladders, protective nets and mobile bridges and the methods of transporting the material to be removed;
  • the protection measures, with the indication of the individual protection tools and the registration of workers exposed to risks in the specific register;
  • the indications on waste disposal, with the indication of the place where the removed materials are to be taken for disposal, information on the company responsible for the transport of the waste itself, the quantity of materials transported and the timescales necessary for disposal.

All information to be reported for the drafting of a correct and effective document, useful for protecting the health of workers and safeguarding the environment.

A copy of the asbestos work plan must be sent to the supervisory authority at least thirty days before the start of the interventions. If, within this period, the supervisory authority does not require any changes, the employer can authorize the start of the works.

Furthermore, the employer has the duty to ensure that the workers concerned have access to the documents at all times.

You might also be interested in: Asbestos reclamation: the phases of disposal, the roles, the pros and cons

Asbestos work plan: conclusions

For the purposes of safety in the workplace, the asbestos work surface therefore plays a fundamental role. A document dedicated to particular and high-risk interventions, demolition or asbestos removal works reserved exclusively for companies with certain legal requirements.

The delicacy of the interventions to be carried out and the use of asbestos and materials containing asbestos, which was quite frequent in building construction until the nineties, have imposed a decisive regulatory intervention to protect our health and the environment in general. In this regard, the regulatory dictates of Legislative Decree 81/08 remain a real point of reference.