Asbestos removers' medicals extended to non-licensed work
The changes were introduced in a 2012 revision to the Control of Asbestos Regulations in response to the European Commission’s view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).
According to the commission, the existing UK legislation incorrectly transposed articles of the directive exempting activities involving only sporadic and low intensity exposure to asbestos. To address this, the revised regulations imposed extra requirements on some types of non-licensed asbestos work, including notification, medical surveillance and record keeping.
“Covering NNLW will provide workers with facts on their health, as well as emphasise to them the importance of control measures and good working practices within the industry.”
Steve Sadley, chief executive at the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association
Only some types of non-licensed work are deemed notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW) and the HSE offers extensive advice on this. Examples include: removal of asbestos cement products where the material will be substantially damaged or broken up; short duration work to remove asbestos insulating board as part of a refurbishment project; and large scale removal of textured decorative coatings using steaming or gelling methods.
Notification and record keeping requirements changed in April 2012 but the duties on medical surveillance were given a three year phase-in period.
The transition period was granted because of the potentially large numbers of workers involved in NNLW who would require medical surveillance for the first time and the limited network of doctors familiar with asbestos related medicals.
Under Regulation 22 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations, by 30 April 2015, all workers carrying out NNLW will need to have had a medical examination. Examinations will then need to be repeated at least every three years, as long as the worker continues to do NNLW.
From 1 May, workers carrying out NNLW for the first time will have to have an examination before they can start work. Medical examinations must include a chest examination and lung function test, and need to be carried out by a licensed medical practitioner such as a GP. Workers already under medical surveillance via a licensed contractor and who have valid certificates do not need the NNLW medical.
The examinations should be carried out in work time at the employer's expense. Doctors must issue a certificate to confirm the examination has taken place, which employers need to keep for four years.
Welcoming the requirements, Steve Sadley, chief executive at the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association, said medical vigilance was vitally important for those involved in asbestos removal. “Covering NNLW will provide workers with facts on their health, as well as emphasise to them the importance of control measures and good working practices within the industry.”
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Source: Health and Safety at Work
Post date: 14 May 2015
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