Asbestos Removal Laws

Asbestos is a hazardous material that was frequently used in the construction industry prior to 1980.  Keeping in view its dangerous properties that can be fatal the UK Government over the years has introduced various laws and regulations to protect its citizens from the hazards that are linked to the inhalation of asbestos fibres.  The most important and significant of asbestos removal laws was the Asbestos Regulations in which the UK government banned the use or import of asbestos of all kinds in 1999.

The first of such asbestos removal laws was made in 1983 when it was made binding that high risk jobs and works related to asbestos would require a special license.  Only contractors in possession of the license could undertake high risk asbestos removal contracts and jobs.  These asbestos removal laws were known as Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations.  The next regulation in the series of asbestos removal laws was Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations.  This was introduced in 1987.  According to this regulation workers and operatives at work places were given protection from asbestos exposure.  The final of these asbestos removal laws was the Control of Asbestos Regulations in 2006.  These regulations were in fact a combination of all the former separate legislation, laws and regulations that has existed before.  These final regulations were passed on November 13, 2006.  Given below are the salient points of all these legislations:

Asbestos (Licensing) Laws:

  • Almost all the work related to asbestos insulation products is required to be performed by only licensed contractors.
  • All method statements were to be submitted for approval to HSE at least 14 days before staring any asbestos removal work.
  • A code of practice was approved and all the license holders were required to follow that code of practice.  This was the first among the asbestos removal laws and laid the foundation of more legislation.

Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations:

  • Maximum limits for exposure were set in these asbestos removal laws.
  • It was made mandatory that work could only be performed under a prescribed controlled environment.
  • A proper risk analysis and assessment is required to be carried out for all asbestos materials that have been identified at the work place.
  • Proper planning needs to be done to with detailed action plans aiming at reducing the exposure of asbestos to a desired level.
  • A register of all materials and their condition was made mandatory which should be available to the operatives at the work place so that they are aware of the risk of exposure and the level of exposure.
  • It was required that all the operatives dealing with asbestos removal be provided suitable training.
  • All the materials that remain at site of removal after the removal operation should be checked strictly to ensure that they have not been contaminated.

Control of Asbestos Regulations:

This was the final in the series of asbestos removal laws passed in November 2006.  It just combined the above laws.