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Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

1.  These Regulations re-enact, with modifications, the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987 (S.I. 1987/2115) (“the 1987 Regulations”) as amended. The 1987 Regulations imposed requirements for the protection of employees who might be exposed to asbestos at work and of other persons who might be affected by such work and also imposed certain duties on employees concerning their own protection from such exposure.

2.  The Regulations, with the exception of regulations 4, 5, 11, 12, 20 and 21(5) to (7), implement as respects Great Britain—

(a)Council Directive 76/769/EEC (“the Marketing and Use Directive”) (OJ No L 262, 27.9.76, p.201) as amended by Council Directive 83/478/EEC (OJ No L 263, 24.9.83, p.33) on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, insofar as it relates to the labelling of products for use at work containing asbestos;

(b)Council Directive 83/477/EEC (OJ No L 263, 24.9.83, p.25) as amended by Council Directive 91/382/EEC (OJ No L 206, 29.7.91, p.16) on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work except insofar as this Directive was implemented by the Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3067) which prohibited asbestos spraying;

(c)Council Directive 90/394/EEC (OJ No L 196, 26.7.90, p.38) on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens at work (sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) insofar as it relates to asbestos; and

(d)Council Directive 98/24/EC (OJ No L 131, 5.5.98, p.11) on the protection of the health and safety of workers from risks related to chemical agents at work (fourteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) insofar as it relates to risks to health from exposure to asbestos.

3.  In addition to minor and drafting amendments, the Regulations make the following changes of substance—

(a)include certain further definitions (regulation 2);

(b)introduce a duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises. Persons with repair and maintenance responsibilities for the premises will need to ensure that asbestos-containing materials within those premises are properly managed, and that information about the location and condition of the materials is passed on to those likely to disturb them (regulation 4);

(c)extend the matters to be considered when carrying out an assessment of the risk from exposure to asbestos and require the risk assessment to be reviewed when the results of monitoring show it to be necessary (regulation 6);

(d)introduce a duty on the employer to prepare procedures, provide information and establish warning systems to deal with an emergency in the workplace related to the use of asbestos in a work process or the removal or repair of asbestos-containing materials (regulation 14).

(e)provide that air monitoring must occur unless the exposure of an employee to asbestos is not likely to exceed the action level or the employer can demonstrate in another way that the requirements in regulation 10(1) have been complied with (regulation 18);

(f)require any person analysing a material in order to determine whether it contains asbestos to comply with European Standard EN ISO/IEC 17025 (regulation 20);

(g)extend the duties on employers with respect to health records and medical surveillance where an employee is found to have an identifiable disease or adverse health effect caused by exposure to asbestos at work (regulation 21); and

(h)amend the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/494) in order to clarify that the Executive will not be the enforcing authority solely because an area has been segregated in order to prevent the spread of asbestos (regulation 27).

4.  European Standard EN ISO/IEC 17025, “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories” accepted by CEN/CENELEC on 6th December 1999 can be obtained from the British Standards Institution, BSI House, 389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL.

5.  A copy of the regulatory impact assessment prepared in respect of these Regulations can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive, Economic Advisers Unit, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS. A copy of the transposition note in relation to implementation of the Directives set out in paragraph 2 can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive, International Branch at the same address. Copies of both these documents have been placed in the Library of each House of Parliament.

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