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Asbestos awareness

26 July 2023

Asbestos-containing material (ACMs), which have been widely used in the construction of buildings and structures in Jersey, are recognised as causing a range of serious, and often fatal, diseases to persons through the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

As long as asbestos is in good condition and is not disturbed or damaged there is negligible risk. However, if it is disturbed or damaged, it can become a danger to health, because asbestos fibres are released into the air and people may breathe them in.

In 2022 the Health and Safety Inspectorate carried out a targeted asbestos initiative to check that workers in the construction industry were being provided with appropriate training in the risks presented by exposure to asbestos. This resulted in four formal Enforcement Notices being served on employers who were found to have intentionally disturbed non-licensed asbestos-containing materials without the appropriate training.

The initiative led to more than 100 employees being provided with asbestos awareness training by their employers, training that should have already been in place. More than 10 employees were provided with enhanced ‘task specific’ training in the removal of non-licensed asbestos-containing materials.

Whilst carrying out recent proactive site visits, this issue has once again been identified: employers are still failing to provide the correct level of training and information to employees that may be exposed to asbestos in their normal work activities.

Every employer must ensure that adequate information, instruction and training is given to all employees who are, or are liable to be, exposed to asbestos or who supervise such employees.

The Approved Code of Practice Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings and Structures (ACoP 8) provides practical guidance to persons who have duties under Part 2 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989 who are involved in working with asbestos.

Asbestos awareness

Asbestos awareness training should be provided for all persons whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos whilst carrying out their normal day-to-day work. In particular it should be provided to all demolition workers and those working in refurbishment, maintenance and allied trades where it is foreseeable that their work will disturb the fabric of the building.

In practice, this means most of those working in the construction industry will require asbestos awareness training.

Work with Non-Licensed Asbestos 

In addition to the basic asbestos awareness training, further ‘task specific’ training should be provided for persons who knowingly disturb non-licensed asbestos containing materials during the course of their work. This covers a wide range of materials, including for example, a roofer removing asbestos containing roof tiles, a demolition operative removing asbestos cement sheets or an operative removing an artex ceiling or asbestos containing vinyl tiles.

Further guidance on the scope of the training required and methods of work is contained in Part 4 of ACoP 8. Employers should be able to demonstrate that suitable, task specific training has been provided to workers that knowingly disturb asbestos.  

Refresher training, appropriate to the type of work, should be provided at least every 12 months. 


The HSI recently carried out proactive visits to construction sites, on two of these sites no refurbishment and demolition survey (R&D survey) had been conducted. 

Where demolition or major refurbishment is planned paragraphs 40 to 44 of ACoP 8 sets out the requirements for a R&D survey that must be undertaken of the relevant areas prior to work starting. 

Contractors must ensure that an appropriate survey of the relevant areas has been carried out by a competent person prior to starting work.

Further advice 

The publication 'Exposure to Asbestos in the Workplace' (ACoP 8) provides practical guidance to persons who have duties under Part 2 of the 'Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989' and carry out work that could result in people being exposed to asbestos.  

Further advice on asbestos is available on the UK Health and Safety Executive or from the Inspectorate on +44 (0) 1534 447300.

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