The Isle of Man government has brought into force the island’s first legal powers to reduce asbestos exposure in the workplace.
The self-governing dependency of the British Crown introduced the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 and its accompanying approved code of practice on 1 August, bringing the island into line with the UK.
The move comes after the Tynwald, the island’s parliament, approved the Control of Asbestos (Application) Order 2022 and the Health and Safety at Work (Managing and Working with Asbestos Code of Practice)(Application) Order 2022 on 21 June, which apply the CAR 2012 as an act of Parliament and the ACoP to the Isle of Man.
The new legal powers mean that contractors who plan to remove or work with asbestos products will have to obtain a licence from the island’s Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) before they can begin work and also notify the island’s authorities in advance so a site inspection can be arranged.
For the first time in the island’s history, the supply of all building materials that contain asbestos will no longer be permitted.
‘This legislation will allow us to better monitor and manage the risks associated with asbestos in the working environment and ensure people are not knowingly exposed to the health risks if it is found,’ said Clare Barber, Manx House of Keys and Minister for DEFA.
The island’s government has further plans to control asbestos exposure over the coming year. From 1 February 2023, duty holders will be required by law to identify and manage asbestos in non-domestic premises and inform workers in their building so that it is not disturbed.
Under the new law, duty holders are required to survey an area and analyse representative samples of the building material if there is no information available on whether asbestos is present.
Duty holders will be required to carry out a risk assessment and decide on work methods to provide effective control of the risks.
Under the new legislation most asbestos removal work will require a contractor who holds a licence from DEFA. All work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and most work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulation board will require a DEFA licence.
In cases where the work is not licensable, the legislation requires duty holders to put appropriate controls in place and in some cases additional requirements will apply: notification of work, medical surveillance and record keeping.