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Control of Asbestos Regulations

Posted on: 10 January 2019

The Control of Asbestos Regulations provide a framework for the management of asbestos/asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in existing non-domestic premises and during any work activity involving asbestos. Dutyholders must make sure anyone who carries out any work in non-domestic premises and any occupants of the premises are not exposed to asbestos from ACMs that may be present.

Privately owned and occupied domestic premises (e.g. houses) are specifically excluded from these regulations, however common parts of multiple occupancy domestic premises (often referred to as HMOs), such as purpose-built flats or houses converted into flats are covered. Common parts of such domestic premises might include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift shafts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, yards, outhouses and garages, but not the private domestic area inside each flat.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations impose duties on employers, employees and those in control of premises to manage risks posed by asbestos.

Employers must prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the exposure of any employee to asbestos and employees must make full and proper use of control measures provided to them (e.g. respiratory protective equipment (RPE)), follow instructions and training provided and report, without delay, any defects to equipment or to the accommodation that houses it.

licence granted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is required before undertaking certain types of work involving asbestos and, except for where the work doesn’t require it, the employer must notify the enforcing authority (as per Schedule 1):

  • at least 14 days before licensed work starts; or
  • for non-licensed work, just before commences.

Areas where asbestos work is to be carried out must be designated and appropriately marked (by the installation of signs and notices):

  • an asbestos area (where employees are likely to be exposed, but within the control limit); or
  • a respirator zone (where there is a potential risk that the control limit will be exceeded and RPE therefore must be worn).