Guidance suggests that asbestos can remain in place if it is in good condition and is unlikely to be disturbed. However, often asbestos materials have become damaged or will be disturbed by planned works so a repair or removal may be required.
The removal of higher risk asbestos-containing materials (sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos insulation, asbestos lagging and work involving asbestos insulating board) must be carried out by a licensed contractor. These materials are likely to release asbestos fibres when being removed rather than lower risk materials such vinyl floor tiles.
Workers who are employed in removing higher risk ACM’s require specific training and should follow specific working practices. Workers should also use sophisticated respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and are legally required to be under regular medical surveillance. It is because of the hazardous nature of this work that a licence to do it is required from HSE.
You can find further information on the HSE licensing process on the Asbestos licensing page.
There are some asbestos removal tasks, involving lower risk asbestos-containing materials that do not require a licence. However the work should be undertaken by competent persons only and all health and safety regulations still apply. In April 2012 the regulations updated, there are now two categories, one of which, ‘notifiable’, has additional employer requirements. Although some removals are classed as non-licensable, works must still be carried out by suitably trained and qualified operatives, utilising the correct RPE & PPE. With the introduction of NNLW some non-licensed work requires notification to the HSE. As part of the removal, operatives will need medical surveillance and records will need to be kept for 40 years.