Redesigning asbestos management at London Luton Airport, UK
London Luton Airport (LLA) manages a portfolio of about 50 core assets, but its asbestos management, particularly integrating baseline survey data quality into the permit-to-work system, was lacking insight and proficiency. Several of its systems date from the 1950s and 1960s when asbestos regulations were not as extensive as today, so upgrading its system was paramount.
RSK’s experience of asbestos-management consultancy and robust management structure impressed LLA during the tender process. As part of a three-year framework, we worked closely with the LLA technical compliance lead to develop a mobilisation plan, a survey strategy and more robust asbestos management procedures for the airport assets.
RSK was responsible for tenders and mini-tenders; managing on- and off-site projects; air clearance and testing; laboratory testing; and supplying a project completion pack. Under the framework, our team provided various services to identify opportunities to improve LLA’s asbestos management.
As part of our risk reduction strategy, we developed a risk profile based on the age and condition of the on-site assets alongside a surveying programme for all areas of the site over a staggered 12-month period in which those areas deemed high risk had priority. During surveying, we safely collected bulk samples of asbestos-containing material and tested it in our UKAS-accredited laboratory.
We recognised that the client’s biggest challenge was effective data organisation, so we provided an online, interactive asbestos register; we also collaborated with LLA’s technical lead using the Alpha Tracker software and built a database to archive previous data and records. To increase efficiency, we proposed installing QR code labelling across the site to give engineering staff and contractors access to register information via smartphones on-site.
The new database efficiently stores and organises surveys, reports and results relating to LLA’s asbestos-management strategy. When an order for a survey or reinspection is received, live data are downloaded to the surveyor’s handset from the register. The surveyor’s on-site inspection records are synced to RSK’s office system to enable the data to be quality checked before being marked as live and used to update the register automatically. The ease of use and live nature of the bespoke database have enabled LLA to integrate asbestos management into its permit-to-work system, thereby improving the safety of engineers and maintenance teams by providing them with up-to-date survey results for the site.