On 10 November 2020, the Minister of Employment and Labour promulgated the Asbestos Abatement Regulations, 2020 under Government Notice R.1196.
Update (20 May 2022)
Notable differences between the 2001 and 2020 Asbestos Regulations
The Asbestos Abatement Regulations, 2020 has several new sections and requirements that were either not included or ambiguous in the old regulations.
The notable additions or clarifications in the new asbestos regulations are as follows:
1. Identification of asbestos in place
A competent person must complete the identification of asbestos in the workplace. Previously, the Asbestos Regulations stipulated that the employer must assess to identify asbestos in the workplace.
2. Definition of a competent person
The regulations define a competent person, which was something that was never there.
A competent person is a person who has the required asbestos knowledge, training, and experience.
3. Inventory of asbestos place
Asbestos Regulation expands the requirements for an inventory. The employer or self-employed person needs to obtain a competent person's services to enter all identified asbestos material in an inventory of asbestos in place. The new Asbestos Regulation 4(3) provides additional requirements regarding the information that needs to be in the inventory of asbestos.
4. Asbestos risk assessment
Employers or self-employed persons are now required to complete an asbestos risk assessment. In contrast, the requirement was to identify the risk of exposure only. The asbestos risk assessment needs to be completed by a competent person immediately. After that, at intervals not exceeding 24 months. Asbestos Regulation 5(5) provides specific requirements for risk assessment for asbestos repair work.
5. Risk categorisation
Employers or self-employed persons need to now categorise the asbestos according to risk categories. Asbestos Regulation 5(3) provides the requirements for the categorisation of asbestos risk.
6. Asbestos management plan
Employers or self-employed persons are now required to have a written asbestos management plan, according to Asbestos Regulation 6(1). Asbestos Regulation 6(2) stipulates the requirements thereof.
7. Duties of an asbestos client for asbestos work
Asbestos Regulation 11 stipulates specific requirements for an asbestos client, which were not apparent in the previous regulations.
8. Duties of a registered asbestos contractor for asbestos work
Asbestos Regulation 12 does an excellent job in clarifying the duties of asbestos contractors. There is an emphasis on the risk assessment and the asbestos management plan.
9. Duties of approved inspection authorities (AIA) for asbestos work
Previously, AIAs got involved with air monitoring, maintenance of control measures, and asbestos demolition plan. AIAs have additional functions such as confirming the employee's medical certificate of fitness and asbestos training records for the asbestos work.
10. Regulated asbestos area
Asbestos Regulation 18 requires employers or self-employed persons to demarcate asbestos work areas. This requirement was sort-off included in the previous Asbestos Regulations but not as explicit as in the new regulations.
Extended to include more prohibitions such as the prohibition not to sell, donate, reuse, reinstall or recycle any asbestos, or asbestos-containing materials.
12. Asbestos clearance certificate
The AIA is required to issue a written declaration for clearance certification for type 2 or type 3 asbestos work. This requirement is another example of the extended scope for AIAs.
13. Requirement with minimal to no changes include:
Information instruction and training
Duties of persons who may be exposed
Control of exposure to asbestos
Notification of asbestos work
Personal protective equipment and facilities
Labelling and signage
Disposal of asbestos
Records (NOTE: the new retention of critical records period 50 years instead of 40 years)
In general, the Asbestos Abatement Regulations, 2020 is more comprehensive than the preceding regulations. The Asbestos Abatement Regulations addresses many of the ambiguities, and various stakeholders' duties for asbestos work are clarified.
GCC factories candidates need to take note of the new changes. There is a very high chance that these new changes may form part of the GCC factories OHS Act exam.
GCC factories professional or GMR 2 appointee need to update internal procedures to align with the new requirements. An asbestos risk assessment, risk categorisation, and management plan are now required where there is asbestos or asbestos work.