Office for Nuclear Regulation

Planned compliance inspection - Management of asbestos, familiarisation visit for CHS ONR inspectors

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This intervention was a planned compliance inspection in line with the ONR Conventional Health and Safety (CHS) operational delivery plan for SDFW Sub-Division 2018/19. 

The primary purpose of the inspection was to evaluate the effectiveness of Sellafield Ltd asbestos management arrangements and particularly their control of asbestos contractors undertaking licensable asbestos work on the site.

The secondary purpose was to inspect the undertaking of licensed asbestos work as defined under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR).  Feedback from the inspection relating to the asbestos contractors has been passed back to the Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) within HSE.

Interventions carried out by ONR

Regulatory judgement was based on determining compliance with sections 2 & 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and relevant statutory provisions made under the Act.  The key regulatory activities undertaken during the inspection were based around:

Explanation of judgement if safety system not judged to be adequate


Key findings, inspector's opinions and reasons for judgements made

Sellafield Ltd has a dedicated asbestos co-ordinator who leads the management of asbestos at Calder Hall.  The role includes prioritising and managing ACMs and arranging for licensed asbestos work to take place.  When a licensed asbestos contractor has been selected to undertake work Sellafield Ltd review the contractor’s plan of work (POW) to ensure asbestos and conventional safety hazards are suitably controlled.  The asbestos co-ordinator is supported by the Calder Hall safety advisor to ensure conventional safety risks are identified and controlled. 

I saw a site work observation and discussed it with the Calder Hall asbestos co-ordinator.  The observation helped demonstrate how Sellafield Ltd over-sees licensable work with ACMs.  The intention of the site work observation is to provide reassurance that the POW is being followed by the licensed asbestos contractor.

The two licensed asbestos contractors who were undertaking work at Calder Hall were found to be generally complying with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 at the time of the visit.  Guidance was given to the contractors on how their POW could be further improved. A summary of the inspection of the licensed asbestos contractors and advice given has been forwarded to the Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) which is part of HSE.  This will contribute to ALU’s assessment of the contractors when considering the renewal of their asbestos contractor’s license.

Due to the age and the physical condition of the turbine hall at Calder Hall, lead paint is peeling from the structure and is contaminating the asbestos work areas.  During a previous ONR intervention this topic had been discussed (ONR-SDFW-IR-17-089, TRIM 2017/311970).  It had been agreed that walkways would be established and cleaned at suitable interviews.  In the short blower house I could see that walkways had been established but they were contaminated with loose flakes of paint.  I discussed this with Sellafield Ltd and asked that the intervals at which cleaning takes place are reviewed to ensure that the walkways are maintained free from paint debris. 

Conclusion of intervention

Feedback was provided at a close out meeting with the Sellafield employees involved in the intervention.  It was recognised that Sellafield Ltd have arrangements and staff in place to enable the management of licensed asbestos work on the Calder Hall site.  They had practically demonstrated this through the monitoring of the licensed asbestos work taking place at the time of the visit.

After considering the ONR inspection rating guide the site were rated Green (no formal action).