New Asbestos Regulations changes on 6th April

Health & Safety update 05/04/2012

The current Asbestos Regulations are being replaced by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and are due to come into force on 6th April.

The changes have come about as a result of the European Commission concluding that the UK had not fully implemented a Directive on the protection of workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos.

The new Regulations narrow the types of work that the current exemptions apply to, and create a new classification for asbestos removal.

There are currently two categories of asbestos removal; licensed and non-licensed. Non-licensed work is currently exempt from certain requirements including notifying the enforcing authority responsible for the site.

Under the changes a new category will be introduced called Notifiable Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal (NNLW) which will require contractors to notify the HSE prior to the removal of the asbestos in certain circumstances, carry out medical examinations and to keep a register of work.

It is not yet known what impact, if any, these changes will have on the market, although some commentary suggests that the changes will bring an element of confusion particularly amongst smaller firms which could lead to non-compliance.

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