United Kingdom Asbestos Legislation

Goals of Legislation

In the mid-1980s, the United Kingdom adopted policies on the proper use and importation of asbestos. During the years since that time several other legislative measures have been signed that dictate the handling of asbestos in that country. The first policy adopted in the ‘80s was meant to

  • Put a stop to the use of the most dangerous forms of the mineral and to curtail activities such as importing, supplying, and using blue (crocidolite) or brown (amosite) asbestos.
  • Prohibit spraying or installing asbestos as insulation.
  • Impose licenses on the use of asbestos as insulation or coating.
  • Control the risks to those who work with asbestos as well as to anyone who else who may be affected.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the primary branch of the UK’s government that regulates asbestos use. Their charge is to enforce the all of the acts related to asbestos and its safety.

Important Laws

Asbestos Regulations of 1983 – This is one of the earlier acts related to asbestos. It prohibited work with asbestos as insulation, coating, or insulating board unless the work was done by an entity with a license sanctioned by the Health and Safety Executive.

Asbestos Products Safety Regulations of 1985 – According to this act, all products that contain asbestos must be labeled as containing asbestos. There must also be proper information regarding the handling of the product. The act also states that any building containing asbestos must show such on the building’s plans.

Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations of 1987 – This regulation states that there must be a plan to identify and manage the existence of asbestos in all locations that contain the mineral. Written plans must also be presented before any work is done in the building that may have an effect on the asbestos containing materials.

Control of Asbestos in the Air Regulations of 1990 – This act places a limit on the amount of asbestos that can be emitted to the air.

Asbestos Prohibitions Regulation of 1992 – This put a stop to importing and using brown asbestos and banned the supply of anything containing amphibole asbestos.

Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 – This put a stop to one hundred years of asbestos use in the United Kingdom. The use of white (chrysotile) asbestos was banned altogether. It also prohibited the importation of fiber, flake, powder, or waste chrysotile along with any use of new products containing asbestos. It also banned the sale of secondhand asbestos products.

Control of Asbestos Regulations of 2006 – This act brings together the ban of blue and brown asbestos from 1985 and the ban of white asbestos in 1999, none of which maybe imported, supplied, or used in new applications in the United Kingdom.