Asbestos Regulations in Different Countries

Asbestos is the name given to six minerals found in nature as bundles of fibers that can be split into thin, resilient threads for use in commercial and industrial applications. These fibers are heat, fire, and chemical resistant and do not conduct electricity. As a result of these factors, asbestos has been widely used in various industries. However, Asbestos fiber inhalation can cause multiple dangerous lung diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, and it is now widely recognized as a serious safety and health concern. The use of asbestos has been banned in many countries. See Asbestos Ban List. Despite this, thousands of people die annually from asbestos-related diseases. This is because many older buildings still contain asbestos, and the effects of exposure can take decades to appear. 

ILO Asbestos Convention C162 and Recommendation R172 establish the principles for restricting and controlling asbestos in the workplace and protecting workers from exposure. The ILO Asbestos Convention C162 was enacted in 1986 to decrease the risk of asbestos exposure to workers. It mandates the implementation of national regulations and the establishment of competent authority to regulate workers' exposure to asbestos.

In light of ILO Asbestos Convention C162, many countries have enacted strict regulations on asbestos use to control asbestos hazards. Following are some regulations from different countries.


There is an entire chapter on Asbestos in the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Chapter 8). It includes all the requirements for Asbestos management and control.

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Asbestos exposure management is addressed in the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304). It includes requirements for an Asbestos exposure control plan, Asbestos waste removal, decontamination, air sampling, and containers for Asbestos dust, waste, and debris.

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There is a specific regulation on Asbestos named 59AD Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Regulation. It includes all the requirements for Asbestos management & control.

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The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations, 2006, (S.I. No. 386 of 2006) as amended by The Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) (Amendment) Regulations, 2010 (S.I. No. 589 of 2010) is the leading piece of legislation in Ireland which address asbestos in the workplace.

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Control of Asbestos is addressed in Occupational Safety and Health (Control of Asbestos at Work) Regulations 2014. It includes requirements for identification and prohibition of asbestos, assessment of work that exposes employees to it, plan of working with it, training requirements, and control measures to avoid exposure.

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The Labour Act of 1992 in Namibia contains special Asbestos Regulations. It includes requirements for asbestos processing notification, asbestos exposure, education and training, employee duties, exposure measures, exposure records, zoned areas, prohibitions, labeling and information, personal protective equipment, exposure control, demolition, asbestos waste disposal, medical surveillance, and offenses and penalties.

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New Zealand

Asbestos control is addressed in the Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998. It includes duties of employers in relation to all working involving Asbestos, duties of manufacturers & suppliers, offenses, and penalties. 

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According to the Parliamentary Act of 1997, importing and selling asbestos and asbestos-containing materials is prohibited. In Poland, the Labor Code makes it obligatory for the employer and employee to arrange for the prophylactic examinations of workers, especially those working under hazardous conditions. The health care covers the workers under occupational exposure to asbestos and former asbestos workers. The regulation also sets guidelines for the removal, disposal, and labeling of asbestos products. 

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The Workplace Safety and Health (Asbestos) Regulations 2014 establish rules and standards for determining the presence of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials in the workplace; general provisions for asbestos-related work, including training, use of personal protective equipment, storage and disposal of asbestos waste, and contaminated matter; asbestos-removal work and an approved asbestos-removal contractor. 

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United States

There is a specific title on Asbestos named Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (§ 1910(1001)). It includes all the requirements for Asbestos management & control.

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Source: International Labour Organization

Jawad Chand

Jawad Chand is an occupational health & safety practitioner and trainer with extensive experience in oil & gas safety management, process safety, pharmaceuticals hazard control, and health & safety management systems. He is a highly qualified professional with the most prestigious degrees in Business Administration, Chemical Engineering, and Occupational Health & Safety.

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