The UK’s Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 will come into force on November 13 2006. The revised regulations will strengthen overall worker protection by reducing exposure limits and introducing mandatory training for work with asbestos. They will also simplify the regulatory regime and implement revisions to the EU Asbestos Worker Protection Directive.

Commenting on the revised regulations, minister for health and safety, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said: “These new provisions will prevent around 6,500 occupational deaths from exposures to asbestos over the next 50 years. There is no doubt these regulations are a step forward in the protection of workers and that they will further strengthen controls to reduce future potential deaths from asbestos disease.”

The revised regulations will introduce the following changes:

– Single control limit of 0.1 fibers per cm3 of air for work with all types of asbestos

– Specific mandatory training requirements for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos

– Requirement to analyse the concentration of asbestos in the air with measurements in accordance with the 1997 World Health Organisation recommended method

– Practical guidelines for the determination of “sporadic and low intensity exposure” as required by the EU Directive

– Replace three existing sets of Asbestos Regulations

Most work with asbestos will still need to be undertaken by a licensed contractor but any decision on whether particular work is licensable will now be determined by the risk.

More details of what work is licensable, what training is necessary and how to undertake work with asbestos containing materials can be found in the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) “Work with materials containing Asbestos”.

Further guidance on the duty to manage asbestos in premises can be found in the “The Management of Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises” ACoP. The revised regulations and two ACoPs providing guidance on complying with the regulations will be published on November 13.