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The value of an Analyst – doing the maths on the dawning of a new Analyst Guide

For those of us who work in the world of asbestos the importance of the Analyst role is understood.

However, to many clients the Analyst is an additional cost that they do not fully appreciate the value of. After all, they are paying a professional asbestos contractor to do these works. The HSE wouldn’t give them a license if they weren’t any good. . .

With that mindset many clients will leave it to the asbestos contractor, who are offering to make their lives easier and appoint the analyst for them. This pretty much always means that they will get an analyst for a 4 stage clearance and maybe ½ to 1 day of leaks and personals for a piece of licensed asbestos removal work.

The potential pit falls of this approach are multiple, and will be subject of another blog, so I will push past this.

The point of this post is to highlight the financial pressures of doing a 4 stage clearance, especially if it is done right. So let’s do the maths:

Now bear in mind what an analyst does during a 4 stage clearance.

They are driving to site, reviewing the method statement, checking the DCU, skip and waste/transit routes, doing a thorough visual inspection of the enclosure (potentially several hours work), doing a clearance air test (30-60 mins), mounting and reading the slides (UKAS anticipate 15 mins per slide (of which there may be anywhere between 1 and probably 4 if it’s a 1 day clearance), waiting for the asbestos contractor to de-sheet and then thoroughly checking to make sure that all sheeting and seals have been removed. They should also be running some reassurance air tests, reading them and issuing their paperwork, before leaving site.

All of this work is to certify that an enclosure is free of asbestos and all visible dust + debris, and culminates in signing a legal document to that effect.

If we are working on the basis of mandatory attendance (i.e. just the 4 stage clearance) on a large asbestos removal project, for which the licensed asbestos removal contractor will charge tens of thousands of pounds, the analytical company may make £400-£450 for the 4 stage clearance. No wonder some companies are pressuring their analysts do multiple clearances on multiple sites per day.

However, were the analyst to miss something during the visual inspection (which by definition has already been missed by the licensed asbestos contractor) their potential liability is considerably more than the amount earned for the piece of work by the analytical company.

So I pose you simple questions . . .

Is the role of the Analyst fully appreciated?
Is the analyst’s expertise undervalued?
Should the new Analyst Guide be placing more emphasis on a higher level of attendance during asbestos removal projects?
Does the current system reward companies that rush the 4 stage clearance in the pursuit of profit, rather than quality?
Do you think the new Analyst Guide will help?

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