Specialist asbestos management in Kazakhstan
The operator of an oil refinery in Kazakhstan needed to conduct a full review of asbestos management at the site with a gap analysis against international best practice. As there are no local regulatory asbestos laws, RSK was contracted for independent, international consultancy services. RSK’s asbestos team established a baseline risk assessment and made appropriate recommendations to assist the client in developing an effective, long-term asbestos management strategy.
The asbestos team conducted an initial desk-top audit of the existing asbestos-containing material(ACM) information, plans and building and assets lists before undertaking a preliminary site reconnaissance and an initial risk assessment of all the buildings and assets. Areas were prioritised for surveying by their likelihood to contain ACMs from the survey team’s visual inspection, judgement and knowledge of similar installations from surveys at comparable refinery sites in Asia and the Middle East. 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.
A full site management survey was mapped out to establish a baseline risk assessment. Survey scope information was recorded in the Alpha Tracker database to ensure the scope agreed with the client was handed to the appropriate surveyor.
The approach to survey recommendations and how remediation might be handled in country was discussed with the client to ensure that the multi surveyor team made consistent recommendations in-line with the framework. We recorded all the information in the Alpha Tracker app to ensure that surveyors worked to the agreed scope. Once bulk samples of suspected ACM were collected, they were transported to RSK’s in-house, UKAS-accredited laboratory facility in the UK for testing.
The temperature, remoteness and security of the site presented some unique risks to health and safety and business continuity. Mobilisation planning was key to the contract’s success. The identification and mitigation of key risks, and a business continuity plan ensured that the project was not delayed. The lack of regulation at the refinery presented a cultural challenge, as local staff 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. As the site had high-risk gas refinery activities, all staff received appropriate training and worked within approved and vetted procedures because the client and RSK both share a safety-first work culture.