These regulations are designed to cover three aspects of asbestos:
• The prohibition of asbestos
• The control of asbestos at work
• The licensing of asbestos
The prohibition of asbestos
The importation, supply and use of all forms of new asbestos (blue, brown and white) are prohibited, as is the second-hand use of asbestos.
The control of asbestos at work
Asbestos was a popular building material before its prohibition, and was widely used in the construction industry. Materials containing asbestos can be left in place, as long as their condition remains good and is monitored and managed.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure that any workers likely to come across asbestos in the course of their work receive health and safety training on the subject. They must also take the appropriate steps to prevent exposure to the fibres contained in asbestos, or to maintain exposure below the levels set out in the regulations.
The licensing of asbestos
Asbestos removal must be carried out for the most part by a licensed contractor, who has a responsibility to inform the HSE or local authority as well as to provide medical surveillance for members of staff.
In certain situations where the risks are low, a license may not be necessary.