Preventing asbestosis

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012), certain measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure, which can lead to asbestos-related diseases.

Examples of these measures include:

  • a licence from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to work in any occupation that deals with asbestos, such as asbestos insulation and coating
  • personal protective equipment, such as respirators, are needed to ensure safety
  • the second-hand use of asbestos products has been banned
  • suitable training is required for anyone who might be exposed to asbestos
  • a new control limit, which cannot be exceeded (0.1 fibres being breathed in per millilitre of air over a four-hour period)
  • employers cannot use their own workers to carry out work in their own premises that would usually require a licence without first obtaining a licence
  • whoever has control of a building must assess and manage any asbestos that exists in that building
  • a risk assessment must be carried out by all employers to assess the risk of their employees’ exposure to asbestos
  • some non-licensed work needs to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority, and brief written records should be kept of non-licensed work that has to be notified
  • by April 2015, all workers/self-employed doing notifiable non-licensed work with asbestos must be under health surveillance by a doctor

Read the full Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (pdf, 142kb).

If you are not sure whether the asbestos materials you are working with pose a risk to your health, you should stop working and seek advice from your employer.

If you are still concerned after speaking to your employer, you can contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your trade union representative (if you have one).

Asbestos risks

Strict regulations were introduced in 1970 to regulate the use of asbestos in the workplace.

However, the import, supply and use of brown and blue types of asbestos was not banned in the UK until 1985. White asbestos was banned in 1999, except for a small number of specialist uses of the material. This means that buildings that were built or refurbished before the year 2000 could still contain asbestos.

Read the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Asbestos Hidden Killer campaign leaflet (pdf, 362kb).

Comments are closed.