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New medical records required for ‘unlicensed’ asbestos work

If you employ workers who may come into contact with asbestos in their jobs you are now required to keep additional medical records.

The 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations require that ‘higher risk’ work with asbestos must only be carried out by contractors who hold a licence issued by the Health & Safety Executive.

Non-licensed work can be carried out by others as detailed on the HSE website.  However some of this work must be notified to relevant authorities: HSE, Local Authority or Office of Rail Regulation.  All notifications can be done online.  The decision on whether work should be notified will be identified in the initial risk assessment and by any measurements of potential exposure.

Medical examinations

Staff involved in notifiable work must have adequate training.  In addition they must be under appropriate medical supervision.  From May 1 2015, staff involved in such  non-licensed work will need to have an asbestos medical examination before any work is done and at least every three years thereafter. This requirement includes self-employed workers. While examinations for licensed work can only be carried out by doctors approved by the HSE, medical examinations for non-licensed work can be carried out by a medical practitioner on the GMC GP register, usually the employee’s GP. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that examinations are carried out and records kept. 

Record keeping

It is now the employer’s duty to keep records of the nature and duration of all work with asbestos and dates of the employees’ medical examinations. These records should be kept for 40 years and offered to the HSE or the employee if the business ceases trading.

The more stringent requirements for medical examination for employees of licensed contractors remain unchanged

Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers in the UK every year. Minimising future risks is an important obligation for all employers. Further guidance will be found on the HSE website.

Broadland Group can assist with risk assessments,  asbestos surveys and sampling to help identify the precautions which need to be taken. We can also advise on any aspect of asbestos control and occupational hygiene.