Asbestos Regulations

The British Government has promoted strict controls and guidelines on the handling of asbestos as its exposure to dust or fibers can lead to deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer. So what are the asbestos removal laws and regulations in UK and how are they implemented?

The regulations ban the importation and supply of all forms of asbestos related materials since 1999 and the prohibition of secondary use of asbestos products such as cement sheets and boards for covering plaster have also been introduced.

The law requires mandatory training for anyone who is exposed or is at risk of exposure to this harmful material at work. This includes construction workers or cable installers who may disturb the fibers of asbestos.

Only a licensed contractor is allowed to remove the material from the workplace and he or she will assess the intensity of the concentration of the material in the air which should not exceed 0.6 fibers per centimeter over ten minutes.

Also a licensed contractor can only allow maintenance workers to continue with their activities if the duration of the work carried out is short and non-continuous. It is acceptable for a worker to come in contact with these materials for less than an hour in a week. So the total time of exposure for any worker should not exceed two hours.

When it comes to completely removing the materials in which harmful fibers are linked to, you must also consider removing the cement, textured decorative paints which contain this material as well as plastic, resin or rubber used for vinyl floor tiles or roofing felt. Adequate encapsulation of asbestos containing materials which are in perfect condition is necessary in order to prevent any fibers from releasing into air. Regular air monitoring and collection of samples for analysis to find out whether that specific material contains any dangerous substances is essential for health and safety of anyone who is exposed to it.

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