Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

CAR 2012 / CAR12

The Health & Safety Executive introduced the Control of Asbestos at Work 2002 regulations (CAW 2002) (now Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 [CAR12] which also replace CAR06) to help reduce the rising death toll from asbestos related diseases. Around 5000 people per year die from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and asbestos related diseases in the UK.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations impose a number of duties on non-domestic property owners. These include:

  • Carrying out risk assessments, and
  • Making asbestos related records available to just about anyone who has reason to view them.

The duty to manage of Regulation 4 (originally introduced in May 2004) is to protect the main group of workers suffering from asbestos related diseases. These are maintenance workers and anyone who has the potential to disturb asbestos unknowingly.

Duty to Manage

The Duty to Manage is Not a Duty to Survey or a Duty to Remove.

The HSE rarely miss an opportunity to point out that the Control of Asbestos Regulations are a duty to manage and not to survey.

The Regulations are also not a duty to remove! The act of disturbing and removing asbestos is a specialist task to be undertaken by specialised, qualified, contractors. In essence, this is a potentially dangerous task that, if handled badly, can lead to the distribution of the asbestos fibres to anyone and anywhere in the vicinity of the removal, transport route and dump site for the products concerned. There is an additional concern that there is nowhere to put the considerable tonnage of material that is known to have been imported into the UK over the years.

Survey Reports & Paper

Managers of large, extensive, or old estates are likely to drown under a sea of paper reports arriving from asbestos surveying companies every six to twelve months unless they take steps to reduce the focus on paper reporting. Managers of smaller or more modern buildings face a challenge on a reduced scale; they too have duties under CAR12 even if they have no asbestos on any of their sites.

Enquiry System for Workers in the Workplace

A key requirement of the regulations is to provide a register of every workplace, listing the asbestos items known to exist and key information about each item including a specialist risk assessment.

The asbestos register needs to be accessible electronically to fit in with the organisation's overall requirement for electronic record keeping. This includes web based access by occasional users who will be controlled by sign-on / password access, and given permissioned audited access to summary information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do about my asbestos?

When the average person is faced with this question, the thinking is one of vast expenditure with no return, but when looked at in more detail and with more understanding, it can be appreciated as a manageable risk.

The Health and Safety Executive has introduced legislation with which all commercial businesses are required to comply. The regulations require every employer (Duty Holder) to identify and manage any asbestos found in their premises. They have to have an Asbestos Management Plan, carry out risk assessments and maintain an Asbestos Register detailing the probable exposure to it by their employees and to third party contractors for a period of 40 years.

This does not mean that all Asbestos has to be removed from their property, which would be a very costly exercise. Although, for those businesses able to take advantage, there is a tax incentive to replace Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) in their property. That is, all costs relating to the replacement with modern building materials can be reclaimed against income tax to the tune of 150%; quite an incentive!

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Why is the Duty to Manage asbestos needed?

Much has been done to minimise the risk associated with asbestos. The use, supply and importation of asbestos and asbestos products are controlled by strict Regulations. Any work with, on or around asbestos is also closely controlled, with many types of work requiring a licence. However, these Regulations only protect workers from exposure to asbestos when the presence of asbestos is known. At least a quarter of those dying from asbestos-related diseases have worked in the maintenance and building trades.

It is for the protection of those people who may be unknowingly exposed to asbestos fibres during their day to day work, such as plumbers, electricians, cable layers, gas fitters, painters and decorators, that the Duty to Manage has been introduced. The Duty seeks to ensure that asbestos in premises will be located, recorded and managed. Then those who may disturb or come into contact with it are informed of its location so they can take suitable precautions.

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Who will be the Duty Holder?

All those who have responsibility for the maintenance and/or repair of non-domestic premises have duties under these regulations. The extent of the legal duty is determined by the terms of any tenancy agreement or contract that applies, and in the absence of any such agreement, on the degree of control the party has over the premises.

The duty holder may be the Business Owner, the Landlord or Tenant depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases responsibility could be shared between two or more parties.

The regulations also include a duty to co-operate, which applies widely. This will, for example, require a landlord to pass information on asbestos to a new tenant. Similarly a tenant must co-operate by allowing a landlord to gain access to a building, for example, to carry out a survey. Also, a building surveyor or architect who has plans which show information on the whereabouts of asbestos would be expected to make these available to the duty holder at a reasonable cost.

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What premises will the legislation apply to?

The legislation applies to all non-domestic premises. This includes all commercial, public and industrial premises. It will also apply to common parts of domestic premises, for example stairwells, lift shafts and corridors in a block of flats.

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What does the Duty Holder have to do to comply with the legislation?

The duty to manage requires the duty holder to take reasonable steps to find asbestos in the premises and assess the condition of these materials. The duty holder must:

  • presume that materials do contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not;
  • prepare a record of the location and condition of these materials and assess the risk from them;
  • prepare and implement a plan to manage those risks; and
  • provide information on the location and condition of the material to anyone who is liable to disturb it.

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Who needs to know where Asbestos is?

The legislation requires that the Duty Holder make information on the location and condition of asbestos available to anyone liable to work on it or disturb it. Any employees involved in building maintenance work and any contractors working on the premises should know if the building contains or may contain asbestos. They should also be told where it is and that there are potential risks to their health if they disturb it.

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Where might Asbestos be in my building?

Some types of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) are perfectly stable and do not present a hazard to health. However, you may be surprised to know that asbestos can be found in the following common construction materials:

  • Artex ceilings
  • Suspended ceiling tiles
  • Old electrical switch gear
  • Thermal insulation products
  • Thermoplastic floor tiles
  • Bituminous products
  • Night storage heaters

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What sort of survey must I use?

There are two types of survey to be used under different circumstances:

  • Management survey
    This is the standard survey. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition. (this replaces Type 1 and Type 2 surveys specified in MDHS 100)
  • Refurbishment and demolition survey
    This is needed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This type of survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. The survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach. (this replaces Type 3 surveys specified in MDHS 100)

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Where can I find more information?

The HSE's Asbestos guidance topic includes a wealth of resources, including Asbestos Basics, videos and case studies.

The supporting guidance material described below may also be of use.

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Supporting Guidance Material from the HSE

The following publications are available from HSE Books.

INDG223 - Managing asbestos in buildings

INDG223ISBN: 9780717664870

The INDG223 leaflet is for people who own, manage or have responsibilities for buildings, which may contain asbestos. This includes all non-domestic buildings, whatever the type of business, and the common areas of domestic buildings, eg halls, stairwells, lift shafts, roof spaces. The guidance does not apply to other domestic properties.

Available as a free download, or in packs of 5 printed copied.

NB: INDG223 is a revised leaflet for the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, combining two previous leaflets:
A short guide to managing asbestos in premises and Manage buildings? You must manage asbestos.

HSG264 - 'Asbestos: The survey guide'

ISBN: 9780717663859

HSG264This heavily illustrated publication replaces and expands on MDHS100, Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials. It is aimed at people carrying out asbestos surveys and people with specific responsibilities for managing asbestos in non-domestic premises under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Available as a free download, this book covers competence and quality assurance and surveys, including: survey planning, carrying out surveys, the survey report and the dutyholder's use of the survey information

Asbestos Essentials

ISBN: 9780717662630

Comprehensive guidance on working with asbestos in the building maintenance and allied trades.

Updated in 2008, this guidance provides the tools necessary to ensure that building maintenance work involving asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) is carried out safely and in accordance with the law.

Available as a free download or to purchase as a printed copy

MDHS100 - 'Surveying, Sampling and Assessment of Asbestos-Containing Material'

ISBN: 071762076X

MDHS100 has been replaced by HSG264 (free to download) above.

Provides guidance on how to survey workplace premises for asbestos, and how to record the results. (This publication is based on the 2002 regulations.)

Available to purchase in printed form, the publication was produced as a standard for people carrying out – or commissioning – asbestos surveys in buildings.

For those already familiar with the 2006 regulations, the changes made on 6 April 2012, are described in:
What has changed in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012?