Asbestos Removal Regulations

Asbestos removal can be dangerous, if not handled properly.  It took a while for authorities to acknowledge that asbestos particles are very harmful when inhaled, but when the truth finally got out, proper regulations needed to be put in place to establish ways for asbestos to be removed from the buildings (after being heavily included in just about all construction jobs) without leaving anything behind and without harming the people who are actually doing it.

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006

On the 13th of November 2006, the Control of Asbestos Regulations came into force in the United Kingdom.  The Control is basically a set of rules about asbestos management, including:

  • Identification of asbestos in a location
  • Assessment of work that endangers employees, due to asbestos exposure
  • Employee instruction and training
  • Control measures
  • Air monitoring
  • Site clearance certification
  • Standards
  • Washing and changing facilities
  • Storage, distribution and labelling of materials contaminated with asbestos
  • Prohibitions for importation, supply and use of asbestos
  • Exemption certificates

The entire set of regulations can be found at the following address:  Control of Asbestos Regulations.  It essentially brings together previous regulations in the asbestos management procedures (including asbestos removal) and is the effective law in the field.

Short Summary of UK Regulations in Regards to Asbestos

Asbestos is prohibited from being imported, supplied or used in any form on the United Kingdom territory.  Use of second-hand asbestos products like asbestos cement sheets and asbestos boards and tiles is also forbidden by law.  However, if it is determined that asbestos-containing materials are in good condition (without spreading asbestos particles in the air), then the law maintains that they need to be checked frequently, but it's not mandatory for them to be removed.  For non-residential locations, you may check asbestos management norms in the management of asbestos on non-domestic premises regulations.

It is mandatory that anyone that has a chance of being exposed to asbestos during their job, needs to be trained in asbestos management and instructed in the latest standards in the field.  Since asbestos in itself is dangerous mostly when it is disturbed, carried, moved and handled, employees that are likely to carry on one of these actions are obligated to wear protection suits, the air quality is continuously checked when the procedures are being carried out and the spread of asbestos is prevented.  After operations involving asbestos, before allowing the location to be accessed by people who are not protected in any way, the premises must be checked for any asbestos remnants – whether on the materials or in the air.

Asbestos removal jobs have to be carried out by licensed contractors.  Jobs that can be carried out unlicensed are the ones that involve a very small amount of asbestos exposure.  Any company or individual that performs asbestos removal, asbestos insulation or coating, needs to have an HSE license.  Any activity involving asbestos, whether performed by a company or individual, needs to follow the existing regulations.