Health and safety at work - asbestos removal

A loophole in the scope of the Asbestos Regulations 1969 has been revealed by a decision in the Court of Appeal, in R v AI Industrial Products ((1987) 2 All ER 370). The regulations, made under the Factories Act 1961, contain detailed standards aimed to protect workers against asbestos hazards, but it has now been held that they do not apply to demolition work on factory premises where such work is considered to be a single operation rather than a continuous process.

The case arose out of the demolition of a "top hat" type kiln on the defendant company's premises by three of its employees. No licence was required under the Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983, since the work was being carried out on the employer's premises.

Two of the employees wore respirators during the work, but the third did not, and he was exposed briefly to a large cloud of asbestos dust when he pushed in the brick sides of the

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