When the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6th April all existing regulations relating to the control and use of asbestos were repealed. The new regulations make only a few changes to the existing requirements and were brought forward because the European Commission took the view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos.
Most businesses that took action to comply with the previous regulations and manage the presence of asbestos containing materials in their premises will not need to make any change to their existing plans and procedures. Information and advice in Guidance Note 5-16 Asbestos in Buildings, which has just been revised to reflect the changes, will help Peninsula clients maintain their statutory compliance.
Here in summary are details of the changes and the requirements that are unchanged.
• Some non-licensed work must now be notified to the relevant enforcing authority.
• Brief written records should be kept of non-licensed work, which has to be notified e.g. copy of the notification with a list of workers on the job, plus the level of likely exposure of those workers to asbestos. Air monitoring is not required, if an estimate of exposure can be made based on experience of similar past tasks or published guidance.
• By April 2015, all workers and the self-employed doing notifiable non-licensed work with asbestos must be under health surveillance by a Doctor. Workers who are already under health surveillance for licensed work need not have another medical examination for non-licensed work. However, medicals for notifiable non-licensed work are not acceptable for those doing licensed work.
• Some modernisation of language and changes to reflect other legislation, e.g. the prohibition section has been removed, as the prohibition of supply and use of asbestos is now covered by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2006.
Staying the same
• Where existing asbestos containing materials are in good condition and unlikely to be damaged, they may be left in place. Their condition must be monitored and managed to ensure they are not disturbed.
• Clients responsible for the maintenance of non-domestic premises, have a ‘duty to manage’ the asbestos in them, to protect anyone using or working in the premises from the risks to health caused by exposure to asbestos.
• Building or maintenance work in premises, or on plant or equipment that might contain asbestos, must identify where the asbestos is and its type and condition and then assess, manage and control the risks.
• Requirements for licensed work remain the same: in the majority of cases, work with asbestos needs to be done by a licensed contractor. This includes most asbestos removal, all work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and most work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulating board.
• Non-licensed asbestos work requires effective controls.
• The control limit for asbestos at 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 fibres/cm3). The control limit is not a ‘safe’ level and exposure from work activities involving asbestos must be reduced to as far below the control limit as possible.
• Mandatory training for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work. This includes maintenance workers and others who may come into contact with or disturb asbestos (e.g. cable installers), as well as those involved in asbestos removal work.
Clients who need further information or guidance on the implication of these regulations or the recent changes should contact our 24 Hours Advice Service by calling 0844 892 2927 and choose option 2.