Thursday, 06 April 2017 09:00

The Legal aspects of Asbestos

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In the UK asbestos hit its peak import levels in the 60s and 70s. Various prohibition laws were introduced from the mid 1980’s up to 1999 when the final prohibition was implemented.  

However this is not the case for every country in the world and this is why ADAO continue to work to raise awareness of the risk and deadly legacy of asbestos and the urgent need for a Global asbestos ban.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the basis of British health and safety law, it is effectively the umbrella act which sits above all others. As well as setting out duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public it also outlines duties that employees have to themselves and others.

There is a specific set of regulations covering work with asbestos which are detailed in the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012), this came into force on 6 April 2012, updating previous regulations and taking into account the European Commission's view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos. CAR 2012 can be downloaded from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website:

CAR 2012 applies to most work with asbestos containing materials, the sampling and analysis of these, and also requirements for licences, prohibitions, exemptions and general advice.

L143 is the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) approved by the HSE, which outlines the  practical implementation of the Regulations. Although the ACOP is not law, it has a special legal status and is considered ‘best practice, therefore following  the advice within the ACOP will ensure compliance.

L143 - Managing and working with asbestos - Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 -  Approved Code of Practice and guidance can be downloaded from the HSE website.

Dependent upon the nature of industry you are working within and the type of work undertaken, consideration must be given to other Health & Safety legislation. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) also requires that suitable arrangements regarding asbestos are to be in place. These are needed to deal with the associated risks during construction work.  Details must be provided by the client to designers and contractors bidding for the work and those who they intend to engage to complete the work.  The information must be site and/or project specific and to a suitable and sufficient standard, in order to allow asbestos risks to be addressed, and ultimately reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that employers must carry out risk assessments for all potential risks in the work place, and make arrangements to implement necessary measures.  The employer should employ competent persons to implement the arrangements.  Emergency procedures should be set up which provide clear information, instruction and training to employees.

Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) requires employers and other people in control of work premises, to report and keep records of certain accidents, injuries and diseases, and this includes Asbestosis, asbestos-related Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma.


There are a number of relevant acts related to asbestos covering, disposal and transportation of waste, control of pollution and protection of the environment, however it would be impossible to detail every requirement in such a short window.

If you have any queries or require assistance then please contact Mark Harvey (Quality & Technical Director) on 0345 456 9953 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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