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Asbestos regs to be eased for Artex jobs

UNLICENSED contractors will be able to carry out asbestos removal if proposed changes to the Health and Safety Commission's asbestos regulations are approved.

The commission published a consultative document today (Thursday) detailing changes that will mean certain types of work where exposure to asbestos is only 'sporadic and low intensity' will not need to be carried out by a licensed contractor.

The changes cover work involving Artex removal after research showed asbestos exposure from the material is much lower than previously thought.

Stephen Sadley, general manager at trade body the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association, said: 'We agree with most of what the consultation document contains but we disagree with proposals to allow anyone to remove Artex. We accept it is low risk but it is not without risk. Unlicensed contractors won't have the expertise, knowledge or insurance to do the job properly. The Health and Safety Executive have done some tests on Artex removal but that was carried out by licensed contractors.' The HSC is looking to simplify the three sets of current asbestos regulations ? on controls, licensing and prohibitions ? into one.

The 12 week consultation finishes at the end of January.

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