Ask us about the Asbestos Regulations

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The current asbestos regulations, The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, came into force on 6th April 2012. At first glance you may find these regulations complex and hard to understand; therefore we have put together this brief summary which details what you need to know:

The main points of the regulations to be aware of are:

  • Regulation 4 – The Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non Domestic Premises
  • Regulation 5 – Identification of the Presence of Asbestos
  • Regulation 10 – Information, Instruction & Training
  • Regulations 25 to 31 – Prohibition
  • Regulation 8 – Licensing Of Work with Asbestos
  • Regulation 9 – Notification of Work with Asbestos
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    Regulation 4 requires the ‘duty holder’ to manage the risks from the presence of asbestos. This is called ‘The Duty to Manage’. The duty holder is normally the person who has the responsibility for maintenance and repair or who controls access, whether the premises are occupied or vacant.

    There are a number of steps or actions which are required in order to fully comply with this duty.

    1. Take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in; (Usually in the form of an asbestos management survey)

    2. Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not;

    3. Make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos; (As a minimum, all identified asbestos containing materials should be reinspected annually to check their condition has not changed).

    4. Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified. (These are usually referred to as priority risk assessments. These assessments are required to assess the risk of persons being exposed to asbestos fibre from the materials identified within the non domestic property. These assessments form the basis of putting together an action plan on how the risks from the asbestos containing materials are going to be managed and in what priority order).

    5. Prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed; (Utilising the information within the priority risk assessments the duty holder must prepare a WRITTEN plan on how the risk from the asbestos materials will be managed).

    6. Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action; (The duty holder must ensure that the WRITTEN plan is put into action).

    7. Periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date; (As part of the on-going management process the plan must be reviewed every six months to ensure the plan is effectively working. Any amendments to the plan must be updated).

    8. Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them. (The duty holder has a legal obligation to provide information of the location and condition of asbestos containing materials to any person working within their premises).

    What premises are affected?

    The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises. Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings e.g. factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.

    Non-domestic premises also include those ‘common’ areas of certain domestic premises: communal staircases, corridors, external areas, bin cupboards etc.

    Regulation 5 says: An employer shall not undertake work in demolition, maintenance, or any work which exposes or is liable to expose his employees to asbestos, in respect of any premises, unless he has carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos is liable to be present. This assessment is usually (but not always) in the form of an asbestos survey and or asbestos register.

    Regulation 4 requires such an assessment to be made for non-domestic premises and this should be carried out by the ‘duty holder’.

    Regulation 5 requires such an assessment to be made for all premises (including domestic) and this should be carried out by the ‘employer’.

    An employer must make an assessment to determine if asbestos materials will be disturbed, within any building built prior to 2000, before commencing works. This covers all non domestic properties and all domestic properties.

    There are three type of training –

  • Asbestos Awareness Training
  • Training for Non-licensable Asbestos Work
  • Training for Licensable Asbestos Work
  • Each type of training is specific to the task being undertaken, for example, training for Non-licensable Work is not sufficient if you are to undertake Licensable work. Equally asbestos awareness is not sufficient training if you are planning to work with asbestos.

    Asbestos awareness training is required to be given to employees whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos.

    This is for those persons who are liable to disturb asbestos while carrying out their normal everyday work, or who may influence how work is carried out (i.e. their managers, supervisors etc).

    The approved code of practice relevant for these regulations highlights the following works are requiring this type of training:

  • General maintenance staff;
  • Electricians;
  • Plumbers;
  • Gas fitters;
  • Painters and decorators;
  • Joiners;
  • Plasterers;
  • Demolition workers;
  • Construction workers;
  • Roofers;
  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Telecommunications engineers;
  • Fire and burglar alarm installers;
  • Architects, building surveyors and other such professionals;
  • Shop fitters;
  • Asbestos awareness training should be updated and refreshed annually.

    The Asbestos Prohibition (Amended) Regulations 1999, extended previous prohibitions to the complete prohibition of the import, supply and use of all asbestos containing products.

    Generally the prohibition covered:

    “Any product to which asbestos fibre has intentionally been added”

    Most work on asbestos must be undertaken by a licensed contractor, but any decision on whether particular work is licensable is based on the risk.
    If licensable work is to be undertaken it will normally require a 14 day notification to the appropriate enforcing authority.