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Domain: Health and safety at work => Risk factors => Asbestos
Grammatical category
Grammar notes
Minerals, that is to say, crocidolite, amosite, chrysotile, fibrous actinolite, fibrous anthophyllite or fibrous tremolite or any mixture containing any of those minerals. Most common is the serpentine group, which includes chrysotile (white asbestos) and which has been the most frequently mined. A second asbestos group known as the amphiboles includes crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos).

Employer's duties
1) Every employer shall
a) prevent the exposure of his employees to asbestos so far as is reasonably practicable;
b) where it is not reasonably practicable to prevent such exposure -
i) reduce the exposure of his employees to asbestos to the lowest level reasonably practicable by measures other than the use of respiratory protective equipment; and
ii) ensure that the number of his employees who are exposed to asbestos is as low as is reasonably practicable;
2) where it is practicable, prevent exposure to asbestos  where employees may be exposed to asbestos in a manufacturing process or in the installation of a product, by substituting for asbestos a substance which under the conditions of its use, does not create a risk to the health of his employees or creates a lesser risk than that created by asbestos;
3) ensure there is a assessment of whether asbestos is likely to be present on the premises, and if so, the risk from it determined and a written plan prepared that identifies the parts of the premises concerned and specifies how it will be managed;
4) notify the relevant authority as appropriate before work with asbestos takes place and use a licensed asbestos remover where necessary;
5) ensure that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is conducted before carrying out work liable to expose employees to asbestos; adequate controls implemented; and significant findings recorded;
6) ensure that where asbestos exposure is liable to exceed the action level the area is designated an asbestos area, air monitored as appropriate and suitable medical surveillance carried out; and if exposure may exceed the control limit, the area designated as a respirator zone;
7) where it's not reasonably practicable to reduce exposure to below the control limits, ensure, in addition to the measures required by paragraph 1), that employees are provided with suitable respiratory protective equipment which will reduce the concentration of asbestos in the air inhaled by the employee to a concentration which is as low as is reasonably practicable and below the control limits which apply to that exposure;
8) ensure that any respiratory protective or exhaust ventilation equipment is maintained in good repair, efficient working order and clean condition; and that it is thoroughly examined and tested at suitable intervals by a competent person;
9) provide adequate and suitable protective clothing for such of his employees as are exposed or are liable to be exposed to asbestos, unless no significant quantity of asbestos is liable to be deposited on the clothes of the employees while he is at work;
10) take immediate steps to remedy the situation where the concentration of asbestos in air inhaled by any employee exceeds the relevant control limit;
11) ensure where asbestos is used in a work process, or is produced by a work process, that the quantity of asbestos and materials containing asbestos at the premises where the work is carried out is reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable;
12) keep a suitable health record, relating to each employee exposed to asbestos above the action level  and records of examinations and tests carried out for exhaust ventilation equipment or respiratory protective equipment and air monitoring tests conducted;
13) prevent or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduce to the lowest level reasonably practicable, the spread of asbestos from any place where work under his control is carried out.

High risk occupations can generally be associated with three broad areas of past asbestos use: shipbuilding, railway carriage and locomotive building, and the installation of lagging or other insulation materials in buildings or industrial plant. In addition, building and maintenance activities are also associated with exposure.
Definition source
Reg. 2, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 21 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, SI 2002/2675; Reg. 3, 5 of The Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983, SI 1983/1649 HSE "Asbestos related disease statistics: frequently asked questions and answers" (http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbfaq.htm)
European legislation
Directives 76/769/EEC, 80/1107/EEC, 82/605/EEC, 83/477/EEC, 86/188/EEC, 88/642/EEC, 03/18/EC
British legislation
Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, SI 2002/2675; The Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983, SI 1983/1649; The Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1992 (as amended), SI 1992/3067
Contained in
Related terms