Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK; the HSE estimates that asbestos-related diseases account for around 4,500 deaths a year. On average, 20 tradespersons die from asbestos exposure every week.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 have not changed, the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) and Guidance has been updated (December 2013) – Managing and Working with Asbestos, L143. Two ACoPs, L127 (The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises) and L143 (Work with materials containing asbestos) have been consolidated into one revised ACoP – L143.
The ACoP has been revised to make legal compliance clearer to Dutyholders and to reflect the changes introduced in The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The presentation and language have been updated wherever possible.
What do you need to know?
Nearly all Regulation sections (Guidance and ACoP) have been updated. One change, which is very helpful, is the inclusion of a boxed summary of each Regulation, which gives a good flavour of what is covered in the next section. We have detailed below the most pertinent areas to draw to your attention. (This list is not exhaustive.)
Regulation 2 – Interpretation
This section has been extensively updated to provide Guidance on the definitions of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) and interpretation of commonly used terms/phrases used within the ACoP. For example the term ‘sporadic and low intensity exposure’ has been moved to this section. The term has also moved from Guidance to ACoP. It is important to take note of this change as this changes the criteria in deciding whether certain works are classed as requiring a licence or whether its non-licensed (incl NNLW) work. There is also a table in the Guidance to provide examples to assist with deciding whether work is licensable or non-licensable (Table 1).
Regulation 3 – Application of these Regulations
This part provides the key elements of whether work is considered as exempt from the subsequent regulations with licensing, notification, designated areas and health surveillance. The update provides greater Guidance on these exemptions including providing the fundamental reasons why work that is classed as requiring a licence is not exempt (paragraph 46).
CAR included additional requirements to notify the relevant Enforcing Authority about certain non-licenced work where there was a degradation of the matrix of the asbestos containing material. This work has been designated the abbreviation NNLW (Notifiable Non-Licensed Work).
A table is now included for defining non-licensed work that does/does not need to be notified, including examples (Tables 2 & 3).
This section also provides expanded definition and Guidance on the terms ‘short, non-continuous maintenance work’ (from Paragraph 61), and, ‘removal without deterioration of non-degraded asbestos materials firmly held in a matrix’ (from Paragraph 65). Short, non-continuous maintenance work has been moved into Guidance which removes the previous ACoP designation.
Regulation 4 – Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises
One of the most substantial changes to L143 is the full review of the previous ACoP for managing asbestos in non-domestic premises (L127) and the incorporation of the summarised ACoP and Guidance into this section concerning Regulation 4.
The previous ACoP has been much reduced to provide Dutyholders with ACoP and Guidance on the key points and requirements.
The requirement for a ‘Management Plan’ is clearly defined in ACoP (paragraph 129) which is a slight departure from the previous ACoP where it was referred to as both ‘written plan’ and ‘the plan’ and acknowledges the widely used term of ‘(Asbestos) Management Plan’.
The section also details the Guidance for making, managing and communicating the Management Plan (Paragraph 129 and from Paragraph 143).
Regulation 7 – Plans of Work
Details of what the Plan of Work should include has been formalised into the ACoP from previous Guidance and updated.
Regulation 8 – Licensing of Work with Asbestos
This section has been summarised as Guidance to reflect that work requiring a license and the Contractors that carry out the work are controlled and managed by the HSE through the licensing process via the specific terms and conditions that they set.
Regulation 9 – Notification of Work with Asbestos
The Procedures for notifying NNLW, ie using the online notification form ASB NNLW1 (Paragraph 220) have been incorporated into ACoP and Guidance.
Regulation 15 – Arrangements to Deal with Accidents, Incidents and Emergencies
This has been expanded to include ACoP on the actions when there is an uncontrolled release of asbestos (Paragraphs 364-366 & 368).
Regulation 16 – Duty to Prevent or Reduce the Spread of Asbestos
This has been extensively expanded, for example sub-section on ‘Enclosures’ (Paragraph 384) and ‘Decontamination’ (Paragraph 400).
Regulation 22 – Health Records and Medical Surveillance
This section has been comprehensively updated to include the requirements for medical examinations of employees that carry out NNLW (Paragraph 500 and 505).
What do you need to do?
· Ensure that your Employees are updated on the changes in the ACoP and Guidance. (You could use this Bulletin as the basis.)
· Ensure your Provider for Asbestos Training has updated their materials to reflect these changes.
· Review your H&S Policy to ensure it incorporates the changes details above, where required.
If you work in the retail sector, Guidance has been issued by the Retail Asbestos Working Group (RAWG) to promote the continuous improvement of asbestos management in the retail sector – www.brc.org.uk/asbestos-guidance