Asbestos - The Regulations

Over the years, asbestos has been regulated by a variety of laws and its import, supply and use has been banned.

The importation, supply and use of Amosite and Crocidolite was banned in 1985

The importation, supply and use of Chrysotile was banned in 1999.


In 2002, the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations were introduced, the particular change to previous versions of asbestos regulations was found within Regulation 4. This applied to the 'Dutyholder' of non domestic premises.

To comply with this new regulation, the dutyholder has to find out if buildings under their control contain asbestos or they should assume that asbestos is present.

Over the last few years, there have been further amendments and the latest regulations were introduced in November 2012 and are now called 'The Control of Asbestos Regulations'.

The new regulations brought together 3 previous sets covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing.


Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012), the role of the dutyholder is unchanged and all non domestic buildings should have an asbestos register and a management plan in force to control and asbestos that is present.

They also specify 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 disturb asbestos (e.g. cable installers) as well as those involved in asbestos removal work.

The regulations have a single Control Limit for all types of asbestos of 0.1 fibres per cm3. The control limit is a maximum concentration of asbestos fibres in the air (averaged over any continuous 4 hour period)

Most asbestos removal work must be undertaken by a licensed contractor. There are exceptions, but these require risk assessments to be carried out and decisions should therefore be dealt with by someone suitably qualified.


The Control of Asbestos Regulations also supplement all other Health and Safety Regulations.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires an employer to conduct their work in such a way that their employees will not be exposed to health and safety risks, and to provide information to other people about their workplace which might affect their health and safety. Section 3 of the act contains general duties on employers and the self employed in respect of people other than their employees. Section4 contains general duties for anyone who has control, to any extent, over a workplace.

The management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers and self employed people to make an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of themselves, employees, and people not in their employment arising out of or in connection with their business. Also to make arrangements for protecting those people's health and safety.

Under the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, there are duties to maintain buildings and premises to protect occupants and workers.

These should all be taken into consideration when planning any work near or with asbestos.