The Minister of Employment and Labour promulgated the Asbestos Abatement Regulations on 10 November 2020 and 3 minor changes were published on 22 March 2022. The due date for the implementation of these regulations is 31 May 2022.
The regulations obligate employers to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees.
The regulations do not focus only on the asbestos contractors and those working with asbestos, but it includes all employers who may expose persons to asbestos fibres due to the work environment. You as an employer or even a homeowner can expose persons to asbestos fibres if you have asbestos on site.
The regulations place a clear obligation on all employers to identify asbestos in the workplace and manage it properly. This duty is also extended to employees to take care of their health and safety and also look after others who may be affected by their acts or omissions; co-operate with the employer to enable him/her to comply with the Act; carry out any lawful order, and obey the health & safety rules; report any unsafe situation to the employer or to the health and safety representative – in order to ensure that their human dignity and safety is preserved.
Although there is no national policy currently with a cut-off date when all buildings must be asbestos-free, employers are encouraged to self-develop a policy and procedure as to how they are going to be phasing out asbestos in their buildings.
As an employer or self-employed person, you would need to do the following:
- Identification – a competent person must identify if any asbestos or asbestos-containing materials are present on-site/workplace.
- If you discover you do have asbestos present in your workplace the following needs to be done:
-Create an inventory
-Conduct an asbestos risk assessment
-Write an asbestos management plan
-Train employees on the source of asbestos health risks of the asbestos on-site, what to do if the asbestos is damaged and how to manage the waste
-Ensure the asbestos is identified with approved signag
3.If you are planning to remove the asbestos you would need to use an approved asbestos contractor.
In light of the above information please be advised that the RMI’s joint-venture partner for Occupational Health and Safety matters, CSRS, can assist with asbestos identification, inventory, risk assessment, management plans and training of staff to ensure compliance with these regulations.
Should you wish to contact them their details are as follows:
Peter Roodman. C: 072 787 5503. E: firstname.lastname@example.org