Skip to main content

Revised Regulations to Enhance Protection of Workers from Asbestos Exposure

Workplace Safety and Health (Asbestos) Regulations to come into force on 30 May 2014

23 May 2014

  1. From 30 May 2014, the Workplace Safety and Health (Asbestos) Regulations will replace the Factories (Asbestos) Regulations1. The WSH (Asbestos) Regulations will mandate better protection of workers against exposure to asbestos during asbestos-removal work and thus help to prevent asbestos-related diseases.
  2. The Regulations, which are in line with international practices, were developed in consultation with workplace safety and health professionals, contractors, employers and employees. A month-long public consultation in July 2013 was also conducted to gather feedback from the public on the proposed regulations.

    Key changes and requirements
  3. The key provisions of the Regulations are:

    a) Survey to determine presence of asbestos or asbestos-containing material (ACM) - An asbestos survey must be conducted by a competent person2 to determine:
    (i) if there is any asbestos-containing material present in buildings3 prior to demolition, addition, alteration or repair; and
    (ii) if there is any asbestos present in any specified material4.

    b) Asbestos-removal work to be carried out prior to demolition of building – Before any demolition of a building is to be carried out, all asbestos and ACM must be removed by an Approved Asbestos-Removal Contractor (AARC) before the building is demolished.

    c) Only AARC to carry out asbestos-removal work - Asbestos-removal work can only be carried out by an AARC. The AARC must appoint a competent person5 to establish an asbestos-removal plan of work and to supervise the asbestos-removal work.

    d) Measures to minimise release or spread of asbestos during work - Employers and principal must take measures to minimise asbestos release during work involving asbestos, and to prevent the spread of asbestos beyond the work area. The measures include wetting of asbestos-containing material and providing exhaust ventilation to maintain a negative pressure within the work area i.e. contaminated air will be removed from the work area and filtered before being discharged into the surrounding area.

    e) General provisions for all works involving asbestos - Employer and principal must:
    (i) ensure that person required to carry out work involving asbestos must be adequately trained and provided with appropriate personal protective equipment;
    (ii) provide adequate facilities to decontaminate persons and materials that may be contaminated with asbestos; and
    (iii) ensure proper disposal of asbestos waste.

    (Please see Annex A for more information on key requirements of the revised regulations.)

  4. The duties and liabilities of duty holders, including competent persons and AARC, are also specified in the regulations. The maximum penalty for non-compliance is $20,000 and/or 24 months’ jail.

    Application to be Approved Asbestos-Removal Contractors
  5. A contractor must fulfil the conditions at Annex B before they can apply to be an AARC. Interested persons can apply at from 30 May 2014 onwards.

1The Factories (Asbestos) Regulations is a subsidiary legislation (SL) of the Factories Act which was replaced with the WSH Act in 2006. To facilitate the crossover, the SLs of the Factories Act – including the Factories (Asbestos) Regulations – are being reviewed and updated.
2A “competent person” for Asbestos Survey means a person who has sufficient experience and training to perform the work, and who has passed the Survey Asbestos and Other Fibres Risks at the Workplace Course.
3For buildings built before 1 January 1991.
4Specified material refers to any material, substance, product or article specified in the Schedule.
5A “competent person” for Asbestos-removal means a person who has sufficient experience and training to perform the work, and who has passed the Remove Asbestos from Workplace Course.

Annex A - Key requirements under the WSH (Asbestos) Regulations

Annex B - Approved Asbestos-Removal Contractor application criteria