UKAS has provided an accreditation service to the UK asbestos sector for many years. Initially this only included sampling and testing but, at the request of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the service was further developed to include surveying in 2001 and then the full four-stage clearance process in 2006.
The benefits of UKAS accreditation in providing confidence in the competence and capabilities of laboratories and inspection bodies has long been recognised by HSE. Over the years the Control of Asbestos Regulations have been amended to make accreditation of certain asbestos activities mandatory. Initially this was restricted to fibre-counting, but later expanded to include air sampling and then identification of asbestos in bulk material. The 2006 review of the Regulations ensured UKAS accreditation also became mandatory for the conduct of the full four-stage clearance process.
As UKAS started to develop these services it recognised the need to consult closely with stakeholders. In response to this a steering committee was set up in 2000 to provide advice and guidance on the development of the asbestos surveying accreditation process. Upon completion of the project the value of this committee was reviewed and it was decided that it would be of great benefit to all if an Asbestos Technical Advisory Committee was established to provide guidance on all asbestos issues: This committee was established in 2002.
The role of the Asbestos Technical Advisory Committee
The role of the Asbestos Technical Advisory Committee is to provide technical advice to UKAS on matters relating to asbestos (including sampling, testing and surveying).
In particular its purpose includes providing technical advice on the following:
- The formulation and review of specific technical criteria to facilitate effective and consistent application of UKAS’ activities.
- To help develop and maintain advice and guidance published in UKAS publications, notably LAB30 and RG8.
- The acceptability of particular processes and procedures as a basis for accreditation.
- The provision of information relating to dynamic asbestos issues that may have an important impact upon UKAS’ services, or could indicate potential areas that could also benefit from UKAS accreditation.
- The identification of potential assessors and sources of assessors.
- The provision of advice on calibration, traceability and reference materials relevant to the asbestos sector.
- The need for and conduct of proficiency testing and interlaboratory comparisons.
- The impact of European and other international initiatives
- The need for the establishment of specialist task forces
Summary documents from past meetings are linked here for historical reference.
Asbestos TAC Committee Members
Arran Cobley (Chair) Hampshire County Council (Local Government)
Louise Wainwright (Secretary) United Kingdom Accreditation Service
Helen Ratcliffe Health & Safety Executive, Asbestos Policy
Steve Sadley Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA)
Laurie Davies Health & Safety Executive
Rob Blackburn Asbestos Training & Consultancy (ATaC)
John Richards Thames Laboratories (representing Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors)
Jonathan Grant National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants (NORAC)
Colette Willoughby British Occupational Hygiene Society
Gerald Hudd Independent Assessor
George Sanders United Kingdom Accreditation Service