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The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (CAR) came into force on 13 November 2006, except Regulation 20(4), which came into force on 6 April 2007. The CAR Regulations bring together the three previous sets of Regulations covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing.
The 2012 Regulations revoke and re-enact the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, with some amendments. The reason for the amendments is that the European Commission (“EC”) concluded that the UK had not fully implemented a Directive on the protection of workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos.
The EC’s reasoned opinion concluded that CAR 2006 had not qualified certain exemptions for low risk work correctly, so that the exemptions were in fact wider than the Directive permitted. The new Regulations will narrow the types of work to which the exemptions apply and therefore, after 6 April 2012, some employers carrying out certain types of low risk, short duration work will no longer be exempt from the requirements to:
The Regulations prohibit the importation, supply and use of all forms of asbestos. They continue the ban introduced for blue and brown asbestos in 1985 and for white asbestos in 1999. They also continue the ban on the second-hand use of asbestos products such as asbestos cement sheets and asbestos boards and tiles, including panels that have been covered with paint or textured plaster containing asbestos.
The ban applies to new uses of asbestos. If existing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are in good condition, they may be left in place, their condition monitored and managed to ensure they are not disturbed.
The Asbestos Regulations also include the ‘duty to manage asbestos’ in non-domestic premises.
The Regulations require mandatory training for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work. This includes maintenance workers and others who may come into contact with or who may disturb asbestos (e.g. cable installers) as well as those involved in asbestos removal work.
When work with asbestos or work which may disturb asbestos is being carried out, the CAR 2006 require
employers and the self-employed to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres. Where this is not reasonably practicable, they must make sure that exposure is kept as low as reasonably practicable by measures other than the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). The spread of asbestos must be prevented. The Regulations specify the work methods and controls that should be used to prevent exposure and spread.
Worker exposure must be below the airborne exposure limit (Control Limit). The CAR 2006 have a single
Control Limit for all types of asbestos of 0.1 fibres/cm3.
A Control Limit is a maximum concentration of asbestos fibres in the air (averaged over any continuous four-hour period) that must not be exceeded.
In addition, short-term exposures must be strictly controlled and worker exposure should not exceed 0.6 fibres/cm3 of air averaged over any continuous ten-minute period using RPE if exposure cannot be reduced sufficiently using other means.
Under the CAR 2006, anyone carrying out work on asbestos insulation, asbestos coating or asbestos-insulating board (AIB) needs a licence issued by the HSE.
If the work is licensable there are a number of additional duties. Duty-holders need to:
The CAR 2006 require any analysis of the concentration of asbestos in the air to be measured in accordance with the 1997 WHO recommended method.
Most of the duties in the CAR 2006 are placed upon ‘an employer’; that is, the person who employs the workers who are liable to be exposed to asbestos in the course of their work. Although the Regulations always refer to an employer, Regulation 3(1) makes it clear that self-employed people have the same duties towards themselves and others as an employer has towards his or her employees and others.