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    Positive asbestos interventions at an oil refinery in Kazakhstan

    The operator of an oil refinery in Kazakhstan contracted RSK to conduct an asbestos management review of its site. However, the seemingly straightforward project complicated quickly; Kazakhstan has no local regulatory asbestos laws and the review needed a gap analysis against international best practice. By working with our regional assets, we conducted a full-site management survey, established a baseline risk assessment and, crucially for the client, outlined recommendations to develop an effective, long-term asbestos management strategy.

    Fact-acting, expert services

    RSK’s team conducted an initial desktop audit of asbestos-containing material (ACM) and assets at the refinery before undertaking a preliminary site reconnaissance and an initial risk assessment of all the buildings and assets. Areas likely to contain ACMs were prioritised. Following RSK’s UKAS-accredited process for survey planning, the team developed a simple traffic light risk rating (red, amber and green) for each asset to determine the areas of highest risk. Our desktop planning established a baseline risk assessment. We recorded survey scope information in the Alpha Tracker database to ensure the agreed scope was handed to the surveyor.

    Our team completed a full site management survey. As identified during planning, high-priority areas were assessed first. We recorded all the data in the Alpha Tracker app to ensure that the surveyors worked to the agreed scope. Once we had collected bulk samples of suspected ACM, we transported them to RSK’s in-house, UKAS-accredited laboratory facility in the UK for testing.

    Positive intervention

    Our surveyors noticed unsafe refurbishment work on an occupied prefabricated building outside the survey scope. ACM was visible in the work area, in a skip and on the transit route. The team intervened, stopped work, restricted access to the area and escalated the issue using the appropriate procedure. They also provided on-site assistance to the client’s safety, health and environment team. Following RSK procedures, we raised a positive intervention report. RSK collaborated with the client to create a method statement and to provide Category B working with asbestos training to assist in the decontamination.

    The lack of regulation at the refinery was challenging and personnel were unaware or unconvinced of the risks posed by asbestos. We worked with the client to educate operational staff and motivate them to follow effective asbestos management procedures. Owing to the non-standard nature of the facilities surveyed, a standard approach to reporting was impractical. So, we collaborated with the client and used local references for areas and items to ensure the project reports reflected the language and terminology of the end-users, particularly as some staff did not speak English.

    RSK provided professional and concise reports following Asbestos: The Survey Guide HSG264, which required close communication with the client throughout the project. To ensure all parties were updated regularly, reports to the client team were issued within a day of site reconnaissance.

    • Location: Kazakhstan
    • Project status: Completed
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