30 Mar ESI Contributes to New CIRIA Good Practice Site Guide for Asbestos in Soil and Made Ground

Poor historical building demolition and waste disposal practices have resulted in asbestos often being present on and in the ground, particularly on brownfield sites. In fact, with the start of routine soil screening in laboratories, it has recently been estimated that as many as 75% of Made Ground samples submitted in the UK contain some asbestos¹. 


ESI Contributes to New Ciria Good Practice Site Guide for Asbestos in Soil and Made Ground Asbestos related diseases often take years to develop (as long as 40 years) and as asbestos can be difficult to identify in the ground, many workers may not know whether they have been, or if they could be, exposed to asbestos in soils.

ESI were delighted to form part of an industry collaboration that contributed to an important update on guidance to help manage health and safety risks from asbestos in soils. The guide has been published by CIRIA, the Construction Industry Research and Information Association. It acts as a key reference book and training aid for ground workers who may encounter and have to work with asbestos-containing soils.

Given the particular nature of asbestos containing soils, project teams must understand the risks involved and provide control measures to ensure ground workers, other site workers and members of the public are not exposed.

The new site guide therefore gives practical advice to all site workers (e.g. groundworks/earthworks contractors, ground investigation contractors/supervisors, consultants, waste handlers) who may come into contact with or are required to manage soils that have the potential to contain asbestos.

It includes a framework to minimise potential health risks and associated liabilities when asbestos-containing soils are encountered on site. It builds upon other recent industry guidance with a specific focus on the practical and safe management of asbestos-containing soils.

Rob Gordon, ESI Principal Consultant and lead Health and Safety Practitioner, who contributed to the new guide said:

We were pleased to be able to contribute to this important guidance that will help ground workers be more confident in working on sites where asbestos is suspected to be present.

“It provides advice when planning and preparing for work with asbestos containing soils; gives guidance and examples of what ground workers should look for and what practical steps they should take to minimise potential exposure.”

You can find the CIRIA guide here.