What you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

Non licensed contractor

We recently had a query from one of our clients that we wanted to share with you in this blog. They are a contractor working in the commercial and retail sectors and occasionally they have to remove bolts from floors which may contain asbestos.

Their query was about wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and RPE (respiratory protective equipment) to carry out the work safely.

We want to take this opportunity to explain what non-licensed asbestos contractors need to do to comply with the law when working with asbestos and whether they need air monitoring carried out by an independent analyst.

Non-licensed works

Removing bolts from asbestos floor tiles is classed as non-licensed work. To work on these unlicensed products, workers will need the appropriate training, insurances, PPE, RPE, risks assessment and a plan of works to be in place before they lift a finger.

When you work with asbestos you must carry out a risk assessment first. It is good practice to identify risks anyway but is required when asbestos is involved, and then make the necessary arrangements to oversee how the works will be carried out.

PPE and RPE

For non-licensed works you would need to wear appropriate coveralls and use a Type H vacuum cleaner.  These have special types of filters that are needed to carry out the works (HEPA – High Efficiency Particle Arrestor). Air is filtered to prevent asbestos fibre from being spread. This equipment should be regularly maintained and certified every six months.

When all of this is in place, the area needs to be set up and cordoned off and a buffer zone should be created. There should be clear signage to indicate this is a respirator only area.

With regards to masks / respirators there are different types of masks – P2 and P3. P2 masks are for general dust. For asbestos work you need to use P3 filter respirators. Face masks must be face tested to the individual wearer to ensure they fit and will not allow in any dust or fibre.

The half face masks we use are created so you can wear them for longer periods than the paper masks and they give a better seal around the face.

There are a couple of ways to do face fit testing (Qualitative or Quantitative). One way is you put a hood on and another colleague will waft some foul smelling smells in front of your mask to test whether you can smell it, if you can, then you haven’t got a great fit. This test relies on your ability to smell and how the mask fits on the day and we don’t recommend this option.

In the industry we use a Portacount device to test respirator fit. In this case you put on a mask and it has a pipe coming up to it. You do all sorts of different exercises with the mask on and the device checks that when you move your head from side to side or up and down that the mask still works and fits your face correctly.

You must be clean shaven because even a little bit of stubble can change the fit factor of a mask.

Waste disposal

Disposing of waste is incredibly important. You must have a hazardous waste licence to remove waste from the site. Asbestos waste must be double bagged and when it is placed in your vehicle it needs to be separated so nothing can puncture the bag.

Insurance

If you are working with asbestos it is vital that you are insured to carry out the works – if anything goes wrong, it can be costly.

Almost all insurers do not exclude asbestos in insurance policies because you pay a premium for it. We have it specifically added into our policy.

If you use a run-of-the-mill builder, they may only come across asbestos once in a blue moon. However, when that happens, you need to make sure they have got everything in place – which in reality, they probably won’t.

Notifications and records

If a contractor takes on non-licensed works, there are a few extra things they need to do to be compliant.

If you are doing notifiable non-licensed works, you must tell the licensing authority with correct ASB1 notification.

In addition, workers and employees must have medical examinations completed every three years and the records need to be kept and maintained for those employees.  Also there is a requirement to keep information about any exposures through personal air monitoring.

In summary

There is a lot to comply with to make sure you have ticked all the boxes. We have come across non-licensed contractors doing these kinds of works and they fall down in most if not all of these areas. You must make sure you have everything we have listed above in place. If you cannot satisfy all these requirements then turn to qualified asbestos expert for help.

We’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or email info@acorn-as.com

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Sam Savage Commercial Director

Commercial Director Sam Savage talks about his first 3 weeks

Last month we announced Sam Savage had joined Acorn Analytical Services as our Commercial Director, working out of the Northampton office and covering the South of England. Sam joins the business from an another asbestos consultancy where he worked for more than 20 years, working his way up from a trainee right through to contracts … Read more

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos Awareness Training – the importance of practising what we preach

At Acorn, we work hard to educate everyone about the dangers of asbestos. One of the ways we do this is through our UKATA accredited Asbestos Awareness training courses. Being a UKATA Approved Training Provider not only demonstrates that Acorn Analytical Services is committed to delivering the highest standard of asbestos training, it also means … Read more

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure risk leads to jail sentences

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure? At Acorn, we work hard to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos which remains the world’s biggest workplace killer. When asbestos is disturbed it releases tiny fibres into the air which can cause a … Read more

MPs want asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years.

MPs fight for asbestos to be removed from public buildings

Last week, MPs called for all asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years. The Government’s Work and Pensions Select Committee wants the asbestos to be removed because the substance remains the biggest workplace killer in the UK with around 5,000 deaths linked to it every year. Even though … Read more

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week charities and organisations around the world will be working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer.

Hitting back at hidden killer during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2022

Today marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. Between now and April 7, charities and organisations around the world will be working hard during Global Asbestos Awareness Week to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer. In the UK, the use of asbestos was banned more than … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services is proud to be helping women to #BreakTheBias.

#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022

Today, Acorn is incredibly proud to be supporting International Women’s Day. The United Nations began marking the global event back in 1977 and the day is now recognised as the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. This year means a lot to our diverse team at Acorn because the theme for 2022 is … Read more

International Women's Day Emma

International Women’s Day 2022

To mark International Women’s Day, we wanted to introduce you to a couple of Acorn Analytical Service’s fantastic female employees. The asbestos industry – like the construction industry in general – is a male dominated sector but at Acorn we are fortunate to work with several brilliant female employees, including asbestos analysts, asbestos surveyors and … Read more

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home?

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home? During the 20th century asbestos was used heavily by the UK’s construction industry and even though its use has been banned for more than two decades its legacy lives on in our homes, garages, workplaces and public buildings. … Read more

Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease

Rare Disease Day 2022

Did you know that Rare Disease Day is taking place on Monday? Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease and for their families and carers. More than 600 events will be taking place across the … Read more

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the HSE's approach to asbestos management

Asbestos management inquiry held by Government

Over the past few months, the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the approach of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to asbestos management in buildings. There are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, most of which can be found in more than 1.5 million buildings across … Read more