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Asbestos

On the 21 June 2022 the Control of Asbestos (Application) Order 2022 and the Health and Safety at Work (Managing and Working with Asbestos Code of Practice)(Application)Order 2022 were approved by Tynwald, these orders apply the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 an act of Parliament and its accompanying approved code of practice (ACOP) to the Isle of Man.

These regulations come into force on the 1 August 2022 and require duty holders to identify and manage asbestos in non-domestic premises and for the first time introduces a prohibition on the supply of asbestos and materials with asbestos added.  They also introduce a requirement to obtain a licence from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) before working on licensable asbestos containing products.

The Managing and Working with Asbestos Code of Practice provides a recommended method of meeting the requirements of the applied Regulations.

Managing and Working with Asbestos

The following information will be of particular interest to employers, asbestos contractors and others with duties under asbestos regulations, together with those workers currently at greatest risk from exposure to asbestos.
The importation and supply of all forms of asbestos are banned. However, many buildings, and some plant and equipment, may still contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

Before you start any work in a building that might contain asbestos (e.g. built or refurbished before the year 2000), you need to do the following:

Identify whether asbestos is present and determine its type and condition

  • People responsible for maintenance of non-domestic premises, have a 'duty to manage' the asbestos in them, and should provide you with information on where any asbestos is in the building and what condition it is in.
  • If no information is available or it is limited and you suspect asbestos may be present you should have the area surveyed and representative samples of the material you are going to work on analysed.
  • Alternatively, you can assume that any material you need to disturb does contain asbestos and take the appropriate precautions for the highest risk situation.

Carry out a risk assessment

  • Decide if it's possible to carry out the building or maintenance work avoiding the risk of asbestos exposure all together.
  • If that's not possible, identify who might be at risk and the level of possible asbestos exposure from any work.
  • On this basis, decide what work methods are necessary to provide effective control of the risks.
  • Further information on carrying out a risk assessment is available.

Decide if the work needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor

  • Most asbestos removal work will require a contractor holding a licence from DEFA.
  • All work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and most work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulating board (AIB) requires a licence.
  • Identify if your work needs a licensed contractor.
  • Find a licensed contractor, or find out how to apply for a licence

If the work is not licensable, decide if the work needs to be notified

  • If it doesn't need a licence, you can do maintenance work on or around ACMs with the appropriate controls in place.
  • Some non-licensed work also has additional requirements, i.e. notification of work, medical surveillance and record keeping. This work is known as notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW)

Ensure those carrying out the work are suitably trained

  • Any worker who is liable to disturb asbestos during their day-to-day work needs to receive appropriate training to enable them to protect themselves and others.

Asbestos essentials includes a number of task sheets which will show you how to safely carry out non-licensed work with asbestos. These sheets can be used to form an important part of the risk assessment if they match the work you are doing.

Asbestos your quick guide HSE (GB) website

Working safely with asbestos

Make sure you work safely by taking appropriate precautions when carrying out any work that could disturb asbestos.

Do:

  • stop work and speak to your employer, or the building owner if you are suspicious something may be asbestos or if you think the work might need to be carried out by a licensed contractor
  • follow the plan of work and the essentials guidance sheets; make sure you use the right sheet for the job
  • make sure you take account of other risks such as work at height
  • use your protective equipment, including a suitable face mask, worn properly
  • clean up as you go - stop waste building up
  • make sure waste is double-bagged and is disposed of properly at a licensed tip
  • wash before breaks and before going home
  • check whether the work should be notified
  • make sure you have had adequate training before you start work

Don't:

  • use methods that create a lot of dust, like using power tools
  • sweep up dust and debris - use a Type H vacuum cleaner or wet rags
  • take home overalls used for asbestos work
  • reuse disposable clothing or masks
  • smoke
  • eat or drink in the work area

What should those in charge of the job do?

They must:

  • find out if asbestos-containing materials are present and plan the work to avoid disturbing these materials if possible
  • ensure that anyone who is going to work on asbestos material has had appropriate information, instruction and training and is supervised
  • know what work can be carried out on asbestos-containing materials, ie does this work need to be carried out by a licensed contractor
  • take account of other risks as well as asbestos, e.g. work at height, and take the precautions necessary to do the job safely
  • use the equipment and method sheets and the right task sheet to make sure that the job is carried out properly and that exposure to asbestos is kept as low as possible
  • prepare a plan of work, explaining what the job involves, the work procedures, and what controls to use
  • provide you with the right equipment, which is clean, in good working order, and protects you against asbestos
  • train you in using this equipment
  • make sure the work area is inspected visually at the end of the job, to check it's fit for reoccupation
  • make arrangements for the safe disposal of any asbestos waste

Risk assessments

Before starting any work that is likely to disturb asbestos, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment must be prepared by the employer.

Whoever carries out the risk assessment must:

  • be competent to do the risk assessment
  • carry it out before work begins and allow enough time to put appropriate precautions in place
  • make sure the assessment is job specific and considers all aspects of the work

Risk assessments are about identifying and controlling the risks:

  • establish the potential risk (including general risks such as falls from height) and identify who may be affected
  • identify the action to be taken to remove the risk, or if that is not possible, to reduce the risk to as low as possible
  • record the findings of the risk assessment, and the action to be taken, and inform employees
  • implement the actions to be taken
  • review and update the risk assessment as required

Competency

Whoever carries out the risk assessment must have a sufficient level of knowledge, training and expertise. This is to make sure that they understand the risks from asbestos (and general risks) to enable them to make informed decisions about the risks and identify the appropriate action required to reduce them.  They will also need to be able to estimate the expected level of exposure to help them decide whether or not the control limit is likely to be exceeded.

Content of the risk assessment

A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should include full details of the work to be undertaken and how long the work is expected to take. It should also include:

  • details of the type and quantity of the asbestos
  • details of the expected level of exposure
  • details of the controls to be used to reduce exposure e.g. use of local exhaust ventilation, controlled wetting, adequate PPE / RPE use of enclosures
  • decontamination procedures for tools, equipment and PPE
  • details on how asbestos waste will be managed
  • emergency procedures

The findings of the assessment should be communicated to employees, and anybody else who could be affected.  A copy of the risk assessment must be available on site.

How do I apply for a licence to work with asbestos?

Applying for an asbestos licence should not be undertaken lightly.  Asbestos is a prohibited substance and classified as a Category 1 carcinogen, within the licencing regimes exemplary standards of health and safety compliance and management are expected, together with an excellent knowledge about how to work with asbestos.

Please note that DEFA will only consider it appropriate to grant a licence to work with asbestos to those applicants who are able to demonstrate legal compliance with the relevant requirements provided for in legislation and guidance and who have high quality health and safety management systems.

You may be refused a licence if you have breached any legislation which brings into doubt your reputation to be a licence holder.

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Not all work with asbestos requires a licence. Licensable work with asbestos is defined in Regulation 2:

  1. where the exposure to asbestos of employees is not sporadic and of low intensity; or
  2. the risk assessment cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded; or
  3. on asbestos coating; or
  4. on asbstos insulating board or asbestos insulation for which the risk assessment:
    • demonstrates that the work is not sporadic and of low intensity,
    • cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded, or
    • demonstrates that the work is not short duration work.

Regulation 8 requires an employer to be granted a licence in order to undertake licensable work with asbestos.

If you do not intend to carry out licensable asbestos work, then you should not proceed with this application. DEFA does not grant licences for commercial reasons.

Licence Fee

A fee of £1,000 is payable to DEFA on each application for a licence under the regulations.  This payment is for the assessment of your fitness to hold a licence to work with asbestos and must be paid in full on application.  Assessment will not proceed until payment has been received.

If decide that you wish to apply for a licence please either download the ASB1 - Applying for a licence to work with asbestos form or email asbestos@gov.im and we will email one back to you.

Once the form is complete, return it to us via the asbestos@gov.im email address.  Once payment has been received in DEFA we will assess the application and any information submitted with it and then make an appointment to conduct an interview and formal assessment to explore understanding of the regulations and theoretical knowledge.

All applicant should have appropriate management and recording systems in place for the following:

Health and safety management systems:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Training and competence
  • Worker involvement
  • Legal compliance
  • Core principles of managing for health and safety

Understanding and knowledge of asbestos specific matters:

  • Risk assessments and Plans of Work
  • Asbestos Training
  • Medical certification
  • Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), including face-fit tests
  • Hardware (e.g. Decontamination Unit (DCU), vacuum cleaners etc.)
  • Maintenance of records
  • Disposal of waste.

Once you have been assessed you will be notified of the outcome and if successful you will be granted a new 1 year licence, subject to conditions.  If you are unsuccessful we will write to you explaining the reason(s) why you are not being granted a licence.

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