Proposals on Revised Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Proposals on Revised Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 1

Asbestos Rock

The European Commission have given the UK Government two months to bring its asbestos regulations (Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006) in line with the EU Directives on protection of workers from asbestos.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) accepted the reasoned opinion from the EU and announced that they will be changing the current asbestos regulations to bring them in line.

The following activities will be brought into the revamped asbestos regulations to comply with Article 4 (notification), Article 15 (medical surveillance) and Article 16 (exposure records) of the EU directive:

  • Short term maintenance work on friable materials
  • Work on materials in which fibres are firmly locked in a matrix, but the material is degraded
  • Work where the material will deteriorate during the work

The HSE have indicated that there will be a new notification system and there will be 3 categories of work:

  • Licensed and notifiable – as per current system
  • Non-licensed and notifiable – new notification system for non licensed work where the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) will deteriorate during the works
  • Non-licensed and non notifiable – where the ACMs won’t deteriorate during the works

The HSE intends not to amend the current regulations but to issue a new set that will be the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 with a target publication date of April 2012. To meet that requirement consultation will need to take place in late summer 2011.

The HSE doesn’t intend to increase the licensing regime but to introduce a new category of notifying non-licensed work.

The Impact on New HSE Guidance Documents Due in 2011

There were two guidance documents, as reported in the last newsletter, that were due for release this year.

  • The Unlicensed Contractors Guide

The basis of the EU infraction largely revolves around unlicensed work causing this document to be delayed, although the HSE can’t give a publication date it’s now not likely to be until 2012.

  • The Analysts’ Guide (HSG248)

The updated version was due to go out for public consultation but the EU Infraction and an HSE court case, which requires the involvement of the HSE’s Dr Martin Gibson, will likely delay the publication until 2012. A new chapter (Chapter 7) on project management of asbestos removal works is still being written.

[ilink style=”download” url=””]Download[/ilink] a copy of the consultation document which has been released

This consultation sets out HSE’s proposals to introduce revised Control of Asbestos Regulations to implement the changes required to comply with the European Commission’s reasoned opinion on the UK Government’s transposition of Directive 83/477/EEC as amended by 2003/18/EC on the protection of workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos at work. The reasoned opinion confirms the European Commission’s view that the UK has not fully implemented Article 3(3) of the Directive which provides for the exemption of some types of lower risk work with asbestos from three requirements of the Directive: notification of work; medical examinations; and record keeping.

The required changes mean in future fewer types of lower risk work will be exempt from the three requirements. Views are sought on: the proposals; the guidance to be produced to explain how the changes will work in practice; and the impact on business.

If you have any concern about the new regulations, feel free to contact us.