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Mar

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – Why all the changes?

Posted by Tracy Seward

Why is it that there always seems to be some tinkering with legislation just when we all think we know what’s required? Well in this instance it was the European Commission (EC) opinion that the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 did not comply with the European Asbestos Worker Protection Directive. In the EC’s view, the omission of two terms in the existing regulations has the effect of allowing too many types of ‘low risk’ work to be exempt from requirements concerning notification, medical examinations and record keeping. So from the 6th April 2012 we will have The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 which redefines the different types of work and introduces a new category of work – ‘Notifiable Non-licensed Work’.

What are the specific changes?

The type of work that is exempt from the notification, medical examinations and record keeping requirements is that where:

a) the exposure of employees to asbestos is sporadic and of low intensity; and

b) it is clear from the risk assessment that the exposure of any employee to asbestos will not exceed the control limit; and

c) the work involves:

i) short, non-continuous maintenance activities in which only non-friable materials   are handled, or

ii) removal without deterioration of non-degraded materials in which the asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix, or

iii) encapsulation or sealing of asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition, or

iv) air monitoring and control, and the collection and analysis of samples to ascertain whether a specific material contains asbestos. Amendments to the existing definitions are shown in bold italics above.

What are the new categories of work?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided to de-couple the application of licensing from the exemptions and to separately define the work for which a licence is required. This means that there will be three categories of work with asbestos and the first two are unchanged from the 2006 Regulations:

1. licensed work, to which all the requirements apply;

2. non-licensed work, which is exempt from the requirements to:

– notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority;

– carry out medical examinations;

– maintain registers of work (health records);

– hold a licence;

– have arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies; and

– designate asbestos areas;

3. a new category of non-licensed work, which will be exempt from the requirements to:

– hold a licence;

– have arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies; and

– designate asbestos areas.

But for which employers will be required to: –

– notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority;

– carry out medical examinations; and

– maintain registers of work (health records).

You will see this new category of work being referred to as ‘Notifiable Non-Licensed Work’ (NNLW).

More detailed information concerning the regulations and their impact on organisations can be found here. For more information or to discuss how Praxis42 could help with the management of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) then please call 0870 446 4201 or email help@praxis42.com. For further information on Praxis42 Asbestos Awareness training click here.

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