The asbestos regulations implemented Directive 83/477/EEC (as amended), which had affect in the UK prior to the 1st January 2021, and are retained in UK law, with any necessary modifications, after the end of the EU Exit implementation period.
Amendment 1 updates references only.
1.1 The merchant shipping and fishing vessels (health and safety at work) (asbestos) regulations 2010 (SI 2010/2984) (the “asbestos regulations”) came into force on 10 January 2011 and introduced measures to protect workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work. The asbestos regulations completed UK implementation of the asbestos Directive by extending its requirements to all ships, hovercraft, fishing vessels, large yachts, coded vessels and other vessels with workers on board, whether they operate on rivers, lakes, other inland waters or at sea. In 2013 amendments were made to the asbestos regulations, therefore within this notice reference to “the asbestos regulations” means the asbestos regulations 2010 as amended in 2013.
1.2 The provisions of the asbestos regulations do not apply to land based workers temporarily carrying out work aboard any vessel (e.g. land based asbestos removal contractors) within the UK, as they will be subject to the relevant HSE/HSE(NI) regulations[footnote 1]. However where the actions of such workers affect ship-based workers, and vice versa, there may be an overlap of MCA and HSE/HSE(NI) regulations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE(NI)) implemented the Directive for land based workers by means of the control of asbestos regulations 2006 and the control of substances hazardous to health regulations 2002 (as amended) and the control of asbestos regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and the control of substances hazardous to health regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 (as amended) respectively. ↩
1.3 Outside of the United Kingdom the HSE/HSE(NI) regulations do not apply and the asbestos regulations apply to all persons on board a UK ship, unless more stringent local regulations apply when in a port outside the UK.
2. Asbestos and its relevance to shipping
2.1 Asbestos used to be used on ships for fire protection and other purposes where its resistance to heat was beneficial. However it is extremely hazardous to health and for that reason its use has effectively been banned except in very limited circumstances where its heat resistant properties required its continued use. The regulations apply to all UK ships whether or not originally built for the UK register and applies to non-UK ships in UK waters.
2.2 Regulation 4 extends the general duties regulations requirement for a risk assessment to be undertaken to determine if there is a risk of exposure, or potential exposure, to asbestos at work. Should the risk assessment positively identify that there is no actual or potential risk of exposure, e.g. because it is known conclusively that asbestos has never been present on the vessel in any form or, if previously present has been completely removed, no further action is likely to be required other than to record this in the risk assessment. If demolition or maintenance work is to be undertaken regard should be had to paragraph 11 below. Where however the risk assessment does identify actual or potential risks of exposure then the provisions of the asbestos regulations will apply in full. Regard should be had to the derogations referred to in paragraphs 5.2 to 5.4 below.
3.1 In the Asbestos Regulations, and this MGN, the following definitions apply:
“asbestos” - means the following fibrous silicates and materials or products consisting of or containing any of these fibrous silicates–
asbestos actinolite - CAS No 77536–66–4
asbestos gruenerite (amosite) - CAS No 12172–73–5 (commonly known as “brown asbestos”)
asbestos anthophyllite - CAS No 77536–67–5
chrysotile - CAS No 12001–29–5 or CAS No 132207-32-0 (commonly known as “white asbestos”)
crocidolite - CAS No 12001–28–4 (commonly known as “blue asbestos”)
asbestos tremolite - CAS No 77536–68–6
“CAS No” means the number in the registry of the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS).
“ISO 17020” and “ISO 17025” mean, respectively, European Standard EN ISO/IEC 17020, “general criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection” and European Standard EN ISO/IEC 17025, “general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories” issued by the Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique (CENELEC), or any version of those documents which the Secretary of State considers relevant from time to time and is specified in a merchant shipping notice which contains a statement to that effect;
“limit value” - means an airborne concentration of asbestos of 0.1 fibres per cm3 as a four hour time-weighted average, averaged over a continuous period of 4 hours.
“site clearance certificate for reoccupation” means a certificate issued to confirm that a ship or part of a ship where work with asbestos has been carried out has been thoroughly cleaned upon completion of that work.
4. Meaning of “worker” (regulation 3)
4.1 The asbestos regulations, like the general duties regulations and other health and safety regulations currently in force, apply to all persons employed on board any vessel, including employed trainees or apprentices, irrespective of whether or not the vessel goes to sea or only operates on inland waters.
4.1.1 The asbestos regulations are disapplied to persons who are receiving training onboard sailing vessels, operating under any of the MCA Code of Practice referenced within regulation 3(2) and who are not employed by the operator of the vessel and may only spend a short time on the vessel and do not receive a wage whilst on board. However, health and safety responsibility does remain as a general obligation on employers, under regulation 5(1) of the general duties regulations, to ensure the health and safety of all persons on board, so far as is reasonably practicable, irrespective of whether or not they are workers.
5. Application (regulation 4)
5.1 The asbestos regulations apply to all activities of workers on all UK registered sea-going ships including Government ships wherever they are in the world and certain provisions also apply to non-UK ships in UK waters. The only exceptions to this are Royal Navy ships which come under HSE legislation. The asbestos regulations also apply to all types of private or commercially operated vessels, including hovercraft, yachts, fishing vessels, work boats etc on which workers are employed whether operating at sea or only on lakes, rivers and other inland waters.
5.2 A limited derogation from the requirements of the asbestos regulations is provided in respect of ships/vessels undertaking public service or civil protection activities where because of characteristics peculiar to the activity being undertaken, full compliance with the requirement of the asbestos regulations is not possible. This derogation is aimed at activities such as rescue or enforcement but only applies in this context to the specific provision(s) of the asbestos regulations with which compliance is not possible because of the activity then being undertaken. The derogation only applies for the length of time compliance is not possible and even then the health and safety of all those on board must be safeguarded as far as is reasonably practicable. All remaining provisions of the asbestos regulations, with which compliance remains possible, will continue to apply in full and compliance with all the requirements of the regulations must be re-established as soon as the activity concerned is no longer being undertaken. In this context “activity” is considered to refer to specific occasions on which an activity is undertaken and not to an ongoing period during which such activities might periodically occur.
5.3 For the purposes of the derogation referred to in paragraph 5.2 above, “public service activities” covers the activities of the armed forces, HM Coastguard, HM Revenue and Customs, immigration officers, police, prison officers, the security and intelligence services and similar organisations where the specific activities undertaken by them may on occasion render them unable to comply fully with the requirements of the asbestos regulations. To note - the “Public Service Activities” derogation does not apply to ferries, irrespective of whether or not they are operated by a public body. “civil protection services” covers the fire and rescue; ambulance; and search and rescue services such as those provided by the RNLI, independent lifeboats etc. This derogation also applies to any ship/vessel engaged in search and rescue activities when answering a distress call or when requested to do so by HM Coastguard or the appropriate authority of another state.
5.4 Regulation 4 provides that where work involving exposure to asbestos, including all types of Chrysotile asbestos, is carried out on board ships, regulations 6 (notification of work relating to asbestos), 17 (health records and medical surveillance) and paragraphs (1) to (3) of regulation 18 (register of workers and notification of cases) of the asbestos regulations (as amended) must be complied with in full, except:-
(1) where worker exposure is sporadic and of low intensity;
(2) it is clear from the results of the risk assessment required in accordance with regulation 5 of the Asbestos 2010 Regulations that the limit value (defined in regulation 2(1) of those Regulations) will not be exceeded in the air of the area of activity, and
(3) work involves—
(a) short, non-continuous maintenance activities in which only non-friable materials are handled,
(b) removal without deterioration of non-degraded materials in which the asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix,
(c) encapsulation or sealing of asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition,
(d) air monitoring and control, and the collection of samples to ascertain whether a specific material contains asbestos.
Any sampling should however only be undertaken by a competent person who has been trained to do so safely.
For the avoidance of doubt it should be noted that exposure to asbestos will not be considered to be “sporadic and of low intensity” if the concentration of asbestos in the atmosphere when measured in accordance with the 1997 WHO recommended method exceeds or is liable to exceed 0.6 fibres per cm3 in the air measured over a ten minute period or if the limit value is, or is liable to be, exceeded.
6. Assessment of risks (regulation 5)
6.1 All types of asbestos potentially pose a risk to health. When fibres from materials containing asbestos are inhaled, they may penetrate to the deepest part of the lung where they may cause diseases. Blue and brown asbestos are considered to be especially harmful and their importation into the UK was prohibited before white asbestos. However all are now prohibited. It is rarely possible to identify by colour the type of asbestos present in a manufactured product, and high temperatures (for example around the exhausts and hot water pipes of engines), ageing, discolouration by oil or other contaminants etc, may change the colour of certain types of asbestos. For safety reasons therefore any asbestos or suspected asbestos should be treated as though it is the most dangerous form.
6.2 Regulation 5 of the asbestos regulations requires employers to assess any risk of exposure to asbestos dust, or dust from materials containing asbestos, on board determine the nature, degree and duration of a worker’s exposure in order to make it possible to assess any risk to the workers’ health or safety and to lay down the measures to be taken,
in assessing the risk of such exposure take account of all routes of exposure including absorption into or through the skin, and
give particular attention to any effects concerning the health and safety of workers at particular risk and take account of the desirability of not deploying such workers in areas where they may come into contact with asbestos,
renew the assessment regularly and in any event when any change occurs in the conditions which may affect workers’ exposure,
6.3 As part of the assessment the employer should, if the presence of asbestos is known or suspected, indicate on a plan of the vessel or in a separately maintained record those places where there is, or it is believed there may be, asbestos, or materials containing asbestos, to which any person might be exposed. It should be remembered when making the assessment that fibres are more likely to be released in quantity when asbestos is disturbed. Sound surfaces should not therefore be probed or otherwise disturbed simply to ascertain whether they cover materials containing asbestos.
7. Notification of work relating to asbestos (regulation 6)
7.1 Regulation 6 requires any employer whose workers are to undertake activities in which they are, or are likely to be, exposed to asbestos to notify the Secretary of State of –
(a) the location of the work site, (i.e. name of vessel and exact location on that vessel)
(b) the type and quantities of asbestos used or handled,
(c) the activities and processes involved, (e.g. removal or encapsulation of asbestos on a vessel)
(d) the number of workers involved,
(e) the starting date and duration of the work,
(f) measures taken to limit the exposure of workers to asbestos (including training of workers and contractors) and
(g) if the work is ship breaking or the removal of asbestos from a ship, evidence of the employer’s ability in that field of work.
Such notification should wherever reasonably practicable be made in writing not less than 14 days before the work commences, and then every time a change in working conditions is likely to result in a significant increase in exposure to dust from asbestos. Where it is not possible to give notice prior to work commencing (e.g. in emergency situations) such notice should be given as soon as reasonably practicable after work has commenced. However, where a vessel is in a UK port and the work is to be carried out by persons, other than “the crew under the direction of the master”, HSE or HSE(NI) regulations will apply and notification will need to be given to either HSE or HSE (NI) as appropriate and as required by their regulations. In such circumstances a copy of the notification should also be forwarded to the nearest MCA Marine Office for information. Where a vessel is in a port outside the UK there may additionally be local regulations governing asbestos work which will need to be complied with.
7.2 Work with asbestos is a very specialised occupation and the employer with responsibility for the operation of the vessel may not necessarily be the employer of the persons actually undertaking any work involving asbestos. This is especially true where a specialist contractor is employed to undertake the work. In such circumstances the employer with responsibility for the operation of the vessel should provide evidence of his own, his workers, or the contractor’s ability (as appropriate) in asbestos removal and handling. So far as providing evidence of the contractor’s ability is concerned, the employer is only required to forward the evidence provided to him by the contractor (with an appropriate translation if not in English). In the UK such evidence would take the form of a licence issued by HSE or HSE(NI). Outside the UK it is accepted that it may not be possible to require contractors to apply similar standards to those set by HSE/HSE(NI) nevertheless it is recommended that wherever possible only contractors capable of working to similar standards to those set by HSE/HSE(NI) should be engaged to undertake work involving asbestos on ships.
8. Prohibition of certain activities relating to asbestos (regulation 7)
8.1. Regulation 7 requires employers to prevent workers from undertaking the following activities –
(a) the application of asbestos by means of the spraying process, and working procedures that involve low density (less than 1g/cm³) insulating or soundproofing materials which contain asbestos, and
(b) activities which expose workers to asbestos fibres during–
(i) the extraction of asbestos,
(ii) the manufacture or processing of asbestos products, or
(iii) the manufacture and processing of products containing intentionally added asbestos,
other than the treatment or disposal of products resulting from demolition and asbestos removal.
8.2 It is not considered that these prohibitions will, in the main, apply to normal shipboard activities but it is necessary to include the provision in the Regulations in order to give full effect to the Directive.
9. Prevention and reduction of exposure (regulation 8)
9.1. Regulation 8 requires employers to reduce to a minimum the exposure of their workers to asbestos. In this context it should be noted that, depending on the age and origins of a vessel, asbestos may for example be present in the cladding on fire retardant bulkheads; in the glands and gaskets of valves and associated pipe work; in friction materials in machinery (e.g. brake linings), and in materials used for thermal insulation such as the lagging on boilers and steam pipes. Additionally, it may be a minor component of other compound materials where it might be a hazard if abraded. Great care should therefore be taken, especially on older vessels in connection with the following work:-
(a) work on old insulation, including that protecting electrical cables and pipes; and
(b) work on any panelling, including the removal of panelling behind which dust may have accumulated.
9.2. Asbestos fibres may be released when a material containing asbestos is disturbed, or whenever such materials crack, flake or crumble, etc. This can even occur, for example, when a nail or screw is driven into a panel to hang up some light article. The ideal form of control is therefore the complete removal of all asbestos from the ship. However such an operation should never be undertaken except by qualified specialist contractors operating a strictly controlled safety regime. In any other circumstances, regulation 8 requires an employer to reduce the exposure of workers to asbestos dust to a minimum and in no case is any worker to be exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos in excess of the limit value set out in paragraph 3.1 above. To achieve this, the employer must, in particular:-
(a) limit the number of workers exposed or likely to be exposed to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos to the lowest possible figure consistent with safe working;
(b) design work processes so as not to produce asbestos dust or, if that proves impossible, to avoid or minimise the release of asbestos dust into the air;
(c) ensure that all locations and equipment involved in the treatment of asbestos are capable of being regularly and effectively cleaned and maintained and are regularly cleaned and maintained;
(d) store and transport asbestos or dust-generating asbestos-containing material in suitable sealed packing;
(e) collect and remove waste from the place of work as soon as possible in suitable sealed packing with labels indicating that it contains asbestos. Any such waste must then be dealt with in accordance with Council Directive 91/689/EEC of 12 December 1991 on hazardous waste when within the European Union (EU). In the UK this is covered by the relevant Hazardous Waste Regulations applicable to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as appropriate or the relevant national legislation in other EU countries. Outside the EU waste must be dealt with in accordance with the national legislation of the country concerned.
This list is not exhaustive and it is for employers to decide whether other additional measures are required as a result of the findings of their risk assessment. Additional guidance is given in Annex 1.
9.3. Where a UK registered vessel is being overhauled or repaired the opportunity should be taken to remove asbestos or asbestos based materials where they present a risk to health—for example, friable or flaking asbestos insulation. Any replacement materials or structures or totally new materials or structures should not include asbestos or asbestos-based materials. In this context “friable” should be construed as meaning in respect of a substance such as asbestos, or any material containing asbestos, that it can be readily crumbled and reduced to dust by the application of little pressure, or brushing against the surface, such that asbestos fibres could be released into the air.
9.4 Regard should also be had to the requirements of EC Regulation No 1907/2006 of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) which effectively prohibits the use of asbestos fibres and articles containing asbestos in any form. The derogation, contained in merchant shipping notice M.1428, which permitted the use of asbestos for certain very specialised purposes accordingly no longer applies and that M Notice is cancelled. Notwithstanding the restrictions set out in M.1428, asbestos may nevertheless still be present in older ships, or in ships which have joined the UK register having originally been built for other registers. It should also be noted that EC Regulation No 1907/2006 also only permits the continued use of articles containing asbestos brought into use pre-2005 until they are either disposed of or reach the end of their service life. Employers should ensure therefore that any new ships, or parts, are free of asbestos.
10. Measurement of air quality (regulation 9)
10.1 Where the risk assessment undertaken by the employer identifies a risk, or potential risk, of exposure of any worker to asbestos the employer must regularly measure the airborne concentration of asbestos fibres in the air to ensure that the limit value set out in paragraph 3.1 above is not exceeded. The method for air sampling is set out in Annex 2 to this MGN.
10.2 Where sampling is required, the employer must ensure that it is carried out in accordance with paragraph 10.1 by a competent person who meets criteria equivalent to those set out in the provisions of ISO 17025 (see paragraph 3.1) covering organisation, quality systems, control of records, personnel, accommodation and environmental conditions, test and calibration methods, method validation, equipment, handling of test and calibration items, and reporting results. Such sampling should:-
(a) be representative of the personal exposure of the worker to dust arising from asbestos,
(b) be carried out after consultation with the worker(s) or their representative(s), or both,
(c) have a duration such that representative exposure can be established for a four-hour reference period by means of measurements or time-weighted calculations, and
(d) take into consideration only fibres with a length of more than 5 micrometres, a breadth of less than 3 micrometres and a length/breadth ratio greater than 3:1.
10.3 Any samples taken must be analysed in laboratories equipped for fibre counting, and must be carried out wherever possible by phase-contrast microscope in accordance with the 1997 World Health Organization recommended method (“Determination of airborne fibre concentrations. A recommended method, by phase-contrast optical microscopy (membrane filter method), WHO, Geneva, 1997 (ISBN 92 4 154496 1)”), or any other method giving equivalent results.
11. Exposure to asbestos (regulation 10)
11.1 In most ships it is considered unlikely that the limit value set out in paragraph 2.2 above will be reached let alone exceeded. If however the limit value is for some reason reached, e.g. as a result of asbestos removal work, the employer must identify the reasons for it being exceeded and take appropriate measures to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Work in the affected area must in addition be prohibited until those measures are in place. Guidance on the measures to be taken is given in annex 3 of this MGN.
12. Maintenance of ships and demolition of ships (regulation 11)
12.1. Prior to beginning any maintenance work or work involving structural alterations to the ship an employer must take all necessary steps to identify any asbestos presumed to be present including obtaining any relevant information from the owner of the vessel. If, when proposing to carry out maintenance, or repairs, there is any doubt about whether asbestos is present, the employer should proceed on the basis that it is present and take the necessary measures required by the regulations and set out in this MGN, which may include the taking of samples. Guidance on the taking of samples, which should normally only be undertaken by specialist contractors, is contained in Annex 4 to this MGN.
12.2 It is accepted that it is unlikely that seafarers will become involved in ship breaking/demolition but they could potentially be involved with emergency maintenance work including removal of asbestos. In order to implement fully the asbestos Directives it is however necessary to cover both types of work in the regulations.
13. Plans of work (regulation 12)
13.1. Before work is started on ship breaking or removal of asbestos from ships the employer must draw up a plan of work which prescribes the measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of workers at the place of work, and in particular specifies that–
asbestos is to be removed before ship breaking techniques are applied, except where this would cause a greater risk to workers than if the asbestos had been left in place,
the personal protective equipment referred to in regulation 10(4)(a) is to be provided where necessary, and
when the ship breaking or asbestos removal has been completed, the absence of asbestos exposure risks in the workplace shall be verified by the issue of a site clearance certificate for reoccupation confirming that the site where work with asbestos has been carried out has been thoroughly cleaned upon completion of that work and are suitable for reoccupation. Such site clearance certificate for reoccupation is to be issued by a person accredited by an appropriate body as competent to perform work in compliance with the paragraphs of ISO 17020 and ISO 17025 (see paragraph 3.1 above) which cover organisation, quality systems, control of records, personnel, accommodation and environmental conditions, test and calibration methods, method validation, equipment, handling of test and calibration items, and reporting results.
13.2. Here again whilst ship’s crews are unlikely to be involved with ship breaking they could be involved with maintenance which disturbs asbestos or they could be affected by asbestos removal. Any plan required to be produced in accordance with regulation 12 should therefore not only cover workers directly involved in such work but also any other persons, including passengers, workers employed by other employers, etc who may be affected as a result of the work being carried out.
14. Training and information (regulations 13 and 16)
14.1. Employers are required to provide workers with sufficient training (regulation 13) and information (regulation 16) to ensure that they are aware of potential risks to health from exposure to asbestos that have been identified by the employer’s risk assessment. Such training and information should include:-
the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the synergistic effect of smoking,
the types of products or materials likely to contain asbestos,
the operations which could result in asbestos exposure and the importance of preventive controls to minimise exposure,
safe work practices, controls and protective equipment,
the appropriate role, choice, selection, limitations and proper use of respiratory equipment,
medical examination requirements.
14.2 The employer must also take steps to ensure all workers and their representatives receive adequate information concerning:-
the potential risks to health from exposure to dust arising from asbestos,
the existence of statutory limit values and the need for the atmosphere to be monitored,
hygiene requirements, including the need to refrain from smoking,
the precautions to be taken as regards the wearing and use of protective equipment and clothing,
special precautions designed to minimise exposure to asbestos.
14.3. In addition to the provisions referred to in the preceding paragraphs, regulation 16 requires that workers and/or their representatives:–
have access to the results of any asbestos-in-air concentration measurements and are given explanations of the significance of those results,
are informed as quickly as possible if the results exceed the limit value and the reasons for it and are consulted on the measures to be taken or, in an emergency, are informed of the measures which have been taken to remedy the situation.
15. Access to risk areas (regulation 14)
15.1. Regulation 14 requires the employer to take appropriate measures to ensure that any place in which a risk from asbestos exists, or is thought to exist:–
is clearly demarcated and indicated by warning signs complying with the MS & FV (safety signs and signals) regulations 2001 and merchant shipping notice MGN 556 (M+F),
is not accessible to workers other than those who by reason of their work or duties are required to enter them, and
constitutes an area where smoking, eating and drinking is not permitted.
16. Hygiene and individual protection (regulation 15)
16.1. In order to protect workers potentially at risk, when work involving asbestos is being undertaken, employers are required to take appropriate hygiene and protection measures including:–
setting aside areas where workers can eat and drink without risking contamination by asbestos dust,
providing workers with appropriate working or protective clothing which should remain within the ship; however where the cleaning of such working or protective cannot be undertaken on the ship, the employer may transport the clothing for laundering in closed containers to an establishment outside the ship which is equipped to undertake this type of work,
providing separate storage places for working or protective clothing and for workers everyday street clothes,
providing workers with appropriate and adequate washing and toilet facilities, including showers in the case of dusty operations,
ensuring protective equipment is placed within a well-defined place and is checked and cleaned after each use,
taking appropriate measures to repair or replace defective equipment before further use.
Further information is contained in Annex 5 to this MGN.
17. Information for workers (regulation 16)
17.1 Where the employer’s risk assessment has identified a risk of exposure to asbestos, the employer must take appropriate measures to ensure that workers and their representatives receive adequate information concerning—
the potential risks to health from exposure to asbestos,
the existence of the limit value and the need for the atmosphere to be monitored,
hygiene requirements, including the need to refrain from smoking,
the precautions to be taken as regards the wearing and use of personal protective equipment, and
special precautions designed to minimise exposure to asbestos.
In addition the employer must in addition take appropriate measures to ensure that—
workers and their representatives have access to the results of the measurements of the airborne concentration of asbestos fibres and can be given explanations of the significance of those results, and
if the results exceed the limit value, the workers concerned and their representatives are informed as quickly as possible of the fact and the reasons for it and are consulted on the measures to be taken or, in an emergency, are informed of the measures which have been taken.
18. Health surveillance (regulation 17)
18.1 Where the employer’s risk assessment has identified that workers have been exposed to asbestos, the employer is required to provide appropriate health surveillance and to keep the records of such surveillance for 40 years following the end of exposure. In this context “health surveillance” means assessment of the state of health of a worker as related to exposure to dust arising from asbestos, which is intended to prevent, and to provide early diagnosis of, any disorder linked with exposure to asbestos. More information on health surveillance is provided in Annex 6 to this MGN.
18.2 The asbestos regulations, do not require the provisions of paragraph 18.1 above to be complied with in the circumstances set out in paragraph 5.4. Nevertheless MCA would recommend that the provisions of paragraph 18.1 are followed in all cases where it is known or suspected that asbestos is present.
19. Register of workers (regulation 18)
19.1 Where any worker, undertakes any activity where there is a risk that they will, or could be, exposed to asbestos the employer must enter their name in a register indicating the nature and duration of that activity as well as the exposure to which they have been subjected.
19.2 Access to the register referred to in paragraph 19.1, must be given to:-
(a) every doctor or other authority responsible for medical surveillance of workers entered in the register,
(b) each worker as respects the results in the register which relate to that worker personally, and
(c) the workers and their representatives as respects anonymous, collective information in the register.
19.3 The employer must keep the register referred to in paragraph 19.1 for at least 40 years from the date of the last entry made in it, and if the employer ceases trading they must notify Seafarer Safety and Health Branch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, on behalf of the Secretary of State, immediately in writing and make the register available to them.
19.4 If the employer becomes aware of any case of—
(c) bronchial carcinoma, or
(d) gastro-intestinal carcinoma diagnosed in any worker whose details are listed in the register referred to in paragraph 19.1, the employer must immediately notify Seafarer Safety and Health Branch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in order that they, on behalf of the Secretary of State, can keep any information so notified in a register of recognised cases of such asbestos related diseases.
20. Consultation with and participation of workers (regulation 19)
20.1 Employers are required by regulation 20 of the general duties regulations to consult workers or their representatives on all matters relating to their health and safety. This requirement extends to matters relating to asbestos and, to this end, employers must consult on:-
(a) the findings of the risk assessment carried out under regulation 5,
(b) measures taken to prevent or reduce risks arising from exposure to dust arising from asbestos in accordance with regulation 8,
(c) measures determined to be necessary to ensure protection of workers in accordance with regulation 10(4),
(d) the provision of training and information in accordance with regulations 13 and 16, and
(e) the arrangements for health surveillance in accordance with regulation 17.
21. Persons upon whom duties are imposed (regulation 20)
21.1. In line with other health and safety regulations, the asbestos regulations contain a provision whereby any duty placed on the employer is extended to “any person who does have control of the matter to which the regulation in question relates” in any circumstances where the employer concerned does not have responsibility for the operation of the vessel. This is in recognition of the situation on many ships that more than one employer can be responsible for the workers on board and effectively means that, whilst every employer is responsible for their own workers, an overall duty in respect of all workers on board, irrespective of who employs them, will be placed on the person(s) responsible for the actual operation of the vessel including the designated person under the ISM Code.
21.2. It should be noted that, in addition to the responsibilities placed on employers, regulation 20 also places a general responsibility on every worker to make full and proper use of all protective equipment provided by the employer, and to give effect to all instruction and training with which he/she has been provided.
22. Carriage of asbestos as cargos
22.1. Requirements governing the carriage of asbestos as cargo on a ship are covered by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and are not relevant to this MGN. However should there be actual, or possible, exposure of a worker to asbestos carried as cargo, the provisions of the asbestos regulations will apply and should be complied with.