The latest guidelines for the control of asbestos was released on 6 April 2012, which has replaced all previous asbestos regulations. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 was created as a result of the European Commission’s belief that the UK had not sufficiently fulfilled the EU Directive on Exposure to Asbestos (2009). Most aspects of the regulations have not changed. Things that have changed are mainly relating to certain types of non-licensed work with asbestos which include the need for keeping accurate records of the work carried out and medical surveillance.
Additions to the asbestos at work regulations
- Before carrying out any non-licensed work, you now need to notify the relevant enforcing authority.
- Written records must now be kept of all non-licensed work which has had to be notified. This means a copy of the notification that was sent to the enforcing authority which will have included a list of the staff who will be working on the job, as well as a risk assessment taking into account the amount of exposure that is expected. Air monitoring isn’t necessary provided you’re able to make a reasonably accurate estimate of the degree of exposure based on previous work you’ve carried out or on official guidelines.
- All workers doing notifiable non-licensed work with asbestos must be working under the guidance of a doctor or physician. If your workers are already under health surveillance by another doctor for licensed work, it’s not necessary that they are seen by another doctor for non-licensed work. However, this doesn’t apply the other way around: the medicals you obtained for your workers for non-licensed work will not suffice if they undertake licensed work.
- Some of the language has been changed and some sections have been moved around. For example, the prohibition section has been taken out and the content is now covered by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2006.
Asbestos regulations remain the same
- It’s acceptable to leave asbestos materials in place in a building provided that they are not damaged or likely to sustain damage. However, they must be monitored to make certain they remain in good condition and don’t pose a health risk.
- Individuals and companies responsible for the maintenance of work premises are responsible for the condition of any asbestos materials within those buildings. They must monitor their condition and ensure there is no health risk posed to their staff or any members of the public who might be in the area.
- Before undertaking any building or maintenance work in areas where asbestos is present, a full risk assessment must be completed and steps are taken to adequately manage the risks.
- For the most part, requirements for licensed work is the same. Asbestos work must be carried out by a licensed contractor. This would normally include asbestos removal and everything involving sprayed asbestos coating, lagging, insulation, and asbestos insulating board (AIB).
- The maximum level of asbestos is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimeter of air. This isn’t a ‘safe’ level, so the level must be reduced even below this if possible.
- Anyone working with asbestos fibres must be given full training and issued with Personal Protective Equipment.
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Learn more about asbestos
Read some of our other useful guides on Asbestos:
A Complete Guide to Asbestos for Construction Site Workers
Asbestos Exposure at Work & How to Claim
Asbestos Facts - Infographic
The Different Types of Asbestos
Asbestosis - A Complete Guide
How to Make an Asbestos Claim on Behalf of a Deceased Relative