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Asbestos at work regulations – guide

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The latest guidelines for the control of asbestos was released on 6th April 2012.

This guideline has replaced all previous regulations, so it is important that you are familiar with any changes.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 was treated as a result of the European Commission’s belief that the UK had not sufficiently fulfilled the EU Directive of Exposure to Asbestos (2009).

The majority of the regulations are still in place with no changes, however, there have been changes made which include certain types of non-licensed work with asbestos and the need to keep accurate records of any work carried out.

The full additions to the regulations are listed below.

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Additions to the asbestos at work regulations

  • Before carrying out any non-licensed work, you now need to notify the relevant enforcing authority
  • All non-licensed work which has required notification must be recorded. This means a copy of the notification that was sent to the enforcing authority must be kept. This should include a list of all staff who will be working on the job, and also a risk assessment which takes into account the amount of exposure that is expected. If you are able to make a reasonably accurate estimate of the amount of exposure which is expected, which could be based on previous work that has been carried out, then air monitoring isn’t a necessity.
  • All workers who will be undertaking non-licensed work with asbestos must be doing so under the guidance of a doctor or other medical professional. If workers are already seeing a doctor for licensed work, then it is not necessary for them to be seen by another. However, is workers have had a medical examination for unlicensed work, they will still need to be seen for any further licensed work.
  • Some of the language in the guidelines have been changed and some sections have been moved around. For example, the prohibition section has been removed and the content is now covered under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2006.

 

Asbestos at work regulations which have remained the same

As mentioned above, many of the asbestos at work regulations have remained the same. These include:

  • It is acceptable to leave asbestos materials in a building providing that they are not damaged or not likely to sustain any damage. However, if doing so, the materials should be monitored to ensure that they remain in good condition and that they do not pose any health risks.
  • Individuals and companies who are responsible for the maintenance of work premises are also responsible for the condition of any asbestos materials in the premises. The materials should be monitored by the responsible party to make sure that there is no health risk to any staff or member of public.
  • A full risk assessment must be completed and steps made to manage any risks before any building or maintenance work takes place where asbestos is present.
  • Working with asbestos must be undergone by a licenced contractor, which includes asbestos removal, everything involving sprayed asbestos coating, lagging, insulation and asbestos insulating board (AIB).
  • The maximum level of asbestos is 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre of air. However, this level isn’t a ‘safe’ level, so the level must be lower than this where possible.
  • Anyone who will be working with asbestos must be given full training and issues with Personal Protective Equipment.

 

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