What are Asbestos Regulations?

Asbestos regulations are regulations which pertain to asbestos, a hazardous substance which was once widely used in construction and some other trades. Use of new asbestos for a number of applications is prohibited under such regulations in many areas of the world, and the situations in which asbestos can be legally used are carefully spelled out. These regulations also include clauses to address health and safety concerns for everyone from people who work around asbestos to school children who might be exposed in older buildings.

Many nations have asbestos regulations that cover the entire country, with additional regional regulations which may vary. One important area of asbestos regulations concerns what to do with asbestos-containing materials from older construction. Such materials can often be left in place as long as they are intact, but if they need to be removed, a series of regulations cover who can remove them, how they can be removed, and what needs to be done with them once they are safely removed. This is designed to minimize exposure to asbestos through poor handling practices.

Asbestos regulations can also mandate testing for asbestos, especially in facilities where people who are especially vulnerable to exposure may be found. For example, in schools, the law may dictate that testing should occur in all older buildings which might contain asbestos, and that if the material is identified, an abatement plan be developed to remove it so that children will not be exposed.

Other asbestos regulations cover topics such as worker safety in facilities where asbestos is handled, what kind of materials may still legally be made from asbestos, how new asbestos fittings should be installed, and who is authorized to work with asbestos. These regulations also recognize the risks to people like contractors, plumbers, and electricians who may come into contact with asbestos in the course of their work.

People can often obtain a copy of local asbestos regulations from a local government authority. This is often recommended before embarking on an asbestos testing and abatement project. National environmental protection and worker safety agencies can provide copies of the relevant national regulations. Many also have publications such as handbooks and brochures which briefly discuss the concerns about asbestos, and cover the basics of how the material should be handled. They can also provide referrals to labs which do testing, along with contractors who have successfully completed asbestos abatement training programs.


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