Asbestos: the duty to manage


Adjacent Planning and Building Control Today outline the new ACoP L143 guidance ‘Managing and working with asbestos’.

In March 2011, the government set up an independent review of health and safety legislation to make proposals for simplifying it. The review was chaired by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, and his report; ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety regulation’ was published some 8 months later.

The report set out a number of recommendations intended to:

  • Reduce legal requirements on business that do not lead to improveents in health and safety;
  •  Remove pressures on business to go beyond what the law requires, enabling them to reclaim ownership of the management of health and safety.

As part of the recommendations, ACoPs (Approved Code of Practice) L127 and L143 were among several identified for: review and revision; consolidation; or withdrawal.

Following a 3 month consultation period, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published the revised ACoP – L143 “Managing and working with asbestos” in December 2013.

Updated to make it easier for employers to understand and meet their legal obligations, it also reflects the changes introduced in The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) on the notification of non-licensed work with asbestos, and consequent arrangements for employee medical examinations and record keeping.

Highlighting the benefits of the change, Kären Clayton, Director of HSE’s Long Latency Health Risks Division, said:

“The two ACOPs have been updated and brought together to help employers find the information they need quickly and easily and understand how to protect their workers from dangers of working with asbestos. The revised ACOP also provides better clarity on identifying dutyholders for non-domestic premises and the things they must do to comply with the ‘duty to manage’ asbestos.”

Specifically, the main revisions include:

  • Material supporting Regulations 2, 3, 9 and 22 has been revised to reflect recent changes to the law on notification of certain non-licensable work with asbestos and consequent arrangements for segregation of asbestos work areas, medical examinations for employees and record keeping;
  • Material supporting Regulation 4, previously available in L127, has been updated to provide better clarity in identifying the dutyholders for non-domestic premises and what they must do to comply with the ‘duty to manage’;
  • Material supporting Regulation 10 has been reviewed and updated to help employers understand what they need to do to provide information, instruction and training for employees and to clarify the position on training certification;
  • The version of the Control of Asbestos Regulations contained in the ACoP has been updated to reflect the changes made in 2012;
  • Specialist terminology has been clarified where possible;
  • Information and guidance on the process and administration of the asbestos licensing scheme has been reduced as it is only of interest to a small, specialist group of employers. The information has been moved to an updated and revised “Asbestos licence assessment, amendment and revocation guide” (ALAARG), which will make it easier to update in future;
  • References to other organisations, and the guidance they produce, have been reduced;
  • Information concerning worker and worker representatives’ involvement and consultation has been amended to be consistent with that in other ACoPs.

In response to ACoP- L143, Steve Sadley, CEO of ARCA (The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association) told Adjacent Planning and Building Control:

“The legal duties that the new ACoP provides advice on, and the nature of the method of compliance it describes, are substantively unchanged from the previous version. However, the ACoP has now been brought up to date in as much as it now reflects the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 rather than the 2006 regulations. In addition, the new ACoP has been formatted in order to make it clearer and more understandable for users, particularly with regards to Notifiable Non Licensed Work with asbestos and the requirements for Information, Instructions and Training.”

ACOP- L143 Managing and working with asbestos is available for download here:

Adjacent Planning and Building Control Today

Tel: 0843 504 4560


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