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Scaffold Contractor’s Ancillary Asbestos License Advice

20th January 2014

The industry Tom-toms have been beating with regard to licensable asbestos works and this has lead to several of our clients asking, ‘When exactly, do scaffold companies need to hold an ancillary Asbestos License to enable them to carry out scaffolding work?’

The recent publication (December 2013) of the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) for the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 seems to have caused some confusion, with some now believing that any and all scaffolding work requires a license. This is not the case.

The ACoP states, ‘Erecting scaffolding when it is foreseeable that the asbestos may be disturbed, and/or when the scaffold forms part of an enclosure will be licensable work’.  A scaffold framework used to construct the enclosure does not necessarily form part of the enclosure and consequently this does not mean by default that the works are licensable.

However, the wording ‘Erecting scaffolding when it is foreseeable that the asbestos may be disturbed’ is significant because if there is a foreseeable risk of disturbance (and therefore exposure to operatives) then the work does become licensable. This would be the case if scaffolding work was being carried adjacent to asbestos that was in poor (friable) condition and could be disturbed or if works were taking place inside an enclosure.

The Asbestos Liaison Group (ALG) is a forum of key stakeholders (HSE, ARCA, ACAD, NASC and Union representatives etc) that works together to promote best standards and practice in relation to control and work with asbestos. Periodically, they produce memos that are intended to serve as guidance for reducing the level of asbestos related diseases and in November 2010, they produced a memo that outlined their position in relation to Ancillary Asbestos Licenses. The memo is available here.

Should you require any further advice on this matter, please contact your Simian Account Manager.