Asbestos Africa News Blog

Asbestos Regulations and Employer Obligations

Asbestos Abatement Regulations and Employer Obligations

The Asbestos Abatement Regulations were published on 10 November 2020 by the Department of Labour and place certain obligations on Employers including Self-Employed business owners.

The Regulations are aimed at eliminating environmental health hazards that are caused by asbestos products, in ‘workplaces’. 

Residential properties are not specifically covered by this amendment to the legislation so clarity on what should be done about reducing asbestos related risk in this area will have to be addressed in another way.

Within the workplace, the employer now has a duty to identify asbestos and/or asbestos products, whereupon such identification requires the engagement of suitably qualified personnel and contractor ("a competent person") to do the asbestos materials inventory as well as the asbestos risk assessment. 

"competent person" means a person who

(a) has, in respect ofthe work or task to be performed, the required knowledge training and experience and, where applicable, qualifications specific to asbestos work or related tasks: Provided that, where appropriate qualifications and training are registered in terms of the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 Act (no.67 of 2008), those qualifications and that training must be regarded as the required qualifications and training; and (b) is familiar with the Act and the applicable regulations made under the Act.

Asbestos Risk Assessment

An Asbestos Risk Assessment must categorise the risk associated with the identified asbestos materials in terms of:

a. health impacts
b. persons potentially exposed
c. potential for damage or disturbance of asbestos containing materials
d. condition and state of deterioration of the Asbestos containing materials

Asbestos Management Plan

Reviews must be done within periods that do not exceed 24 months. Furthermore as per Regulation 6, suitably qualified personnel must be engaged to compile an asbestos management plan that addresses key issues such as:

a. the removal of asbestos, 
b. alleviation of hazards in asbestos work and the 
c. discontinuance in use of asbestos products. 

The Regulations have further classified asbestos work into 3 categories depending on the work involved. While TYPE 1 asbestos work does not necessarily need to be carried out by a registered asbestos contractor, approval after notification before commencement of such work must be sought from the Department of Labour. 

TYPE 1 asbestos work includes;
(a)    painting of asbestos cement products in a manner that does not require surface preparation and does not cause the release of asbestos fibres 
(b)    the removal of less than 10 square metres of asbestos cement products or equivalent gutters and piping or asbestos insulating board, where removal work may not be repeated on the same site within a period of six months.

TYPE 2 asbestos work will require that the contractor be registered as such in order to carry out permissible work;
(a)    the repair or encapsulation of asbestos cement products in a manner that does not require surface preparation.
(b)    the removal of asbestos cement products or asbestos insulating board.

TYPE 3 asbestos work will require that the contractor be registered as such in order to carry out permissible work;
(a)    the removal, repair or encapsulation of any asbestos and asbestos-containing material;

Regulations 18, 19 and 20 place a duty on the employer to put up signage of caution into places where there is asbestos and have controlled access to these places. 

Where access needs to be achieved, protective clothing must be utilised. Further, where transportation of containers with asbestos must be carried out, these must be marked in accordance with the UN Transport of Dangerous Goods protocols. 

It is clear from above that the obligations may become onerous where large quantities of asbestos containing material are identified.

For this reason it is important to find solutions that will minimise the impact and cost implications for employers who wish to be compliant with the new regulations.

Asbestos Africa provides a Holistic Solution

Asbestos Africa offers a solution that: 

1. Provides the required knowledge, training and experience to provide competent services as outlined in the regulations, and
2. A non-invasive asbestos sealing & painting service that effectively encapsulates the asbestos containing products at the lowest possible cost.

Contact us to find out how you can be accredited.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.
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