Asbestos Legislative Changes

Asbestos Legislative Changes

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As ACS enters the 45th year of saving lives in the asbestos industry, Founding Director, Emma Willey  reflects on what has been and what lies ahead.  She writes: "I remember being a very young girl when Dad first started working out analytical techniques for asbestos testing – there weren’t any in those days so he had a research project with some students to work out how to analyse it in a commercially viable method.  Removal contractors – all of whom had put the asbestos on in the first place – used to come to talk to ‘The Dr’ about where they could find it and what methods they’d used to put it on in the first place.  Very likeable rogues, most of them!  Good hearts, dreadful language, hard workers with a flamboyant disregard for their own safety or for the severity of inhaling asbestos fibres. Some would send a paper bag with sweets from the shop home with Dad for me to have.  The asbestos industry evolved – it wasn’t planned from the start with regulations etc, if you’d put the asbestos insulation IN then you knew where it was and offered to take it OUT for  payment, as simple as that". 

Nowadays, there are 37 different regulations that cover working with asbestos.  All but one of the original removal contractors have passed away at early ages.  Many of their sons have too.  We still have in the region of 6,000 deaths per annum from asbestos related disease in the U.K. making it the biggest industrial killer the U.K. has ever seen. Again, there has been a huge shift in the industry in that the current deaths are less likely to be asbestos workers and, instead, are tradespeople who are working on asbestos without knowing what it is.  It is with these death tolls in mind ALONG WITH the original evolution of the Asbestos Industry that led to the July 2021 changes in HSG248 – The Analysts Guide.  The aim of the guidance is to ‘clean up’ the asbestos industry, put some structure and processes in place that will, in time, eradicate the less savoury characters and ensure that only the compliant, safe contractors remain. It does so by looking to include a reputable, UKAS accredited Analytical Company in the planning of removal works instead of waiting until the job is completed and bringing in the specialist as an afterthought to the work.

As these changes were brought in under the guidance for Analysts, many organisations have overlooked it,  BUT this is where they are falling down. HSE Asbestos Analysts' Guide, Chapter 1, section 1.22 points out: "It is strongly recommended that the analyst for site clearance certification is independently sourced and employed by the building owner or occupier (i.e. building client) in control of the premises.”

In summary, ANY ORGANISATION WITH ASBESTOS IN THEIR PROPERTIES need to stop using a removal contractor to dictate the works to be carried out and include a reputable, UKAS accredited Analytical Company in the job from the initial scoping stage. 


Contact ACS today to learn more on 0141 427 5171 or email