Requirements for staff handling asbestos-containing products

Requirements for staff handling asbestos-containing products

In the EU countries there is still a lot of work with asbestos for its demolition and various maintenance works that are a source of uncontrolled asbestos exposure. It leads to pleural mesothelioma and a range of other severe health problems. The need in minimizing these risks is obvious, and in accordance to the European asbestos Directive 2009/148/EC all employees for asbestos work must be properly qualified. In many Member States all works with asbestos are preceded by appropriate training for workers with further examination to prove the existence of required qualification. Any company in this sphere must have a responsible person for assessing specific requirements for safety on the work place and providing proper organizational and technical measures for supporting it.

The goal of any such expert is preparing measures in full accordance with legal regulations and safety rules for carrying out asbestos-related works. He sets technical and organizational prerequisites for protecting environment and workers from the negative effects of asbestos exposure and safe project implementation. He bears responsibility for the safety on the construction site. The general functions of such expert include:

  • informing proper institutions of Occupational Health and Safety committee
  • assessing risks and creating the work plan for safe and efficient work performance
  • training employees to act safely at the construction site
  • provide proper facilities for health control of the employees
  • arrange the disposal of waste
  • providing appliances for work

The construction site requires proper barriers and caution signs to inform people about possible dangers. Using protecting equipment must be strictly controlled, as any violations increase the risks of health damage. After finishing all the works on the object, an expert must check all its area and put it into operation.

Asbestos regulations are constantly evolving, and employers must adapt to the updates in laws, requirements and technologies. That is why an important requirement to working with asbestos is regular improvements of qualification and proper examination. It is a common practice to hire professional supervisors from qualified companies to perform the risk assessment, work plan development and other measures of such kind. There are companies that provide such services in the EU. As a rule, only companies who extensively work with asbestos have such specialist in their staff.

As for the workers, they are required to be properly qualified to carry out work that involves the use of asbestos. Each employer must be properly informed about methods and rules on the workplace. Only workers who have passed health examination successfully are allowed to work. Moreover, a worker must be aware of the necessity to wear protective clothes and use protective equipment, as well as have willingness to do this. All potential risks must be explained to workers before the work begins.

If a contractor wants to hire sub-contractors for performing asbestos-related works, sub-contractor must qualify all aforementioned requirements too. However, the principal contractor cannot rest the responsibility for compliance with proper regulations and requirements on subcontractor.

As a rule the cost for asbestos-related work will be about 20% more expensive than similar work with asbestos free products. Such cost increase is explained by the need in additional protection equipment, security measures and required rest periods.


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