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Obligations of Contractors

Asbestos Knowledge Base

The management regulations - guidance notes - states that building / maintenance contractors will not take on any direct duties in respect of the duty to manage in regulation 4 (apart from their own business premises), unless they either;

  1. Have contractual responsibilities, or;
  2. They exercise some element of control over the site

An example is given where a contractor has control over part of a site for an extended period. In such cases the client has responsibilities under the CDM regulations to provide information about asbestos to the contractor.

A contractor may wish to ensure that his contract specifically excludes the 'duty to manage' responsibilities so that there is no doubt about his role in this regard.

A contractor should be given information on the location and condition of ACMs by the owner or occupier where this will affect their work so that it can be planned safely.

A contractor who unexpectedly discovers any asbestos - or suspected asbestos - must report this to the duty holder.

A contractor should tell the duty holder of any discrepancy between the actual condition of material and the information given to the contractor.

If asbestos is likely to be present in premises;

A contractor must comply with

  1. CAR 2012 regulation 6 - Assessment of work which exposes employees to asbestos
  2. CAR 2012 regulation 10 - Information, Instruction and Training
  3. As well as other health and safety legislation that applies to the work

If the work is known to involve disturbing asbestos, then all of CAR 2012 will apply apart from regulation 4 which will only apply if the contractor has caretaker duties to manage risk from asbestos.

Self Employed

The management regulations - guidance notes - states that contractors may need to take appropriate action to protect self employed personnel working for them. Responsibility for the health & safety of self employed personnel should be clarified in the terms of a contract.


  1. No one can pass on a legal duty that falls to them under the HSW Act by means of a contract
  2. Duties under HSW Act section 3 always remain with the duty holder
  3. In general, legal responsibility cannot be passed on to others

Not with standing the above, only the courts can give an authorative interpretation of the law.