Assure 360

Contamination Expo 2019 – with asbestos licensing in meltdown, can you afford to miss it?

Written by Nick Garland on 08/08/2019
 

The first Contamination Expo event took place back in 2016, and Assure360 was proud to be among the founder exhibitors. This year a bigger, better Expo takes place from 11-12 September at the NEC in Birmingham, and it comes at a pivotal time for the asbestos industry.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is in the middle of one of the biggest shakeups of asbestos licensing since the permissioning regime was introduced. To say that its changes have been either smoothly introduced or warmly received would be a gross exaggeration. So the 2019 expo represents the first big chance for the industry to get some much needed help and direction.

I’ve already talked about what’s changing, but it pays to focus on the new system itself.

The application form has 14 sections, all of which require you to explain how you comply with or exceed the HSE’s expectations. In the new regime you now need to provide evidence that you actually do what you say that you do. This, at its ‘simplest’, means gathering together dozens if not hundreds of pieces of paper, scanning them and emailing them off.

As multiple firms are finding, even then it is not so straightforward. The HSE’s incoming email size limit seems to be set at a rather low 10-12MB. Licensed asbestos removal contractors are finding they need to split their responses into multiple emails, relating to multiple sections, with all their answers carefully cross-referenced.

This is taking companies weeks of dedicated effort, but the problems don’t stop there. Because everyone is providing different evidence, in different ways, in different formats, when it lands on the HSE’s desk it’s taking it months to read, understand and analyse. And all this needs to be completed before the Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) can make a formal decision on the application.

This is a big problem. The resulting delay is taking licensing decisions right to the wire, with licences sometimes coming through the day before the existing one expires – and in some cases long after! The frustration and the stress this causes can not be underestimated: when your business depends on a licence to remove and handle asbestos, failing to receive that licence could lead to the end of your business.

How to avoid the pitfalls? What can you do to make your licence application smoother? And what could make the HSE’s task easier and quicker? These are the questions the industry will be asking at the Contamination Expo, and this is exactly where Assure360 can help.

The Assure360 solution long predates the new regime, but it feels like it was tailor-made for it. With Assure360, all of the evidence needed for the complex sections of the form can be produced at the touch of a button. As you’d expect, we’ve also responded quickly to the changing licensing environment: now we even have a dedicated module, split into the application form sections, which offers explanations, and links to the areas of the system and the reports that will help.

On the first day of this year’s Expo, 11 September, I’ll be speaking from 12:30 – 13:00 in Theatre 21. My subject – you guessed it – is the only one that matters right now: the New Asbestos Licencing system, and how electronic solutions can help. If you miss that, then we’re holding a networking event at 17:00 in Plaza Suite 3 on the main concourse.

I’d love to see you there, but if you can’t make it, please be sure to come and visit us during the event. We’ll be on stand J7, directly opposite ACAD. As the experts in the management of asbestos removal, we’re here to help. If you’re looking for guidance and insight into the new process, pitfalls to avoid, and strategies to succeed – there couldn’t be a better first port of call.

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"The Assure 360 database allows us to take a top level view of all of our asbestos removal contractors, directly comparing and contrasting them against each other."
Richard Bennion, Asbestos Compliance Manager, Royal Mail Group