Licensable Work With Asbestos

The information on this page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

Most higher-risk work with asbestos must only be done by a licensed contractor. Licensable work with asbestos is work:

  • where worker exposure to asbestos is not sporadic and of low intensity; or
  • where the risk assessment cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded ie 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3) (averaged over a four hour period); or
  • on asbestos coating; or
  • on asbestos insulation or asbestos insulating board where the risk assessment demonstrates that the work is not short duration work, eg when work with these materials will take no more than two hours in any seven day period, and no one person works for more than one hour in that two hour period.

Some examples on what types of work are considered to be licensable can be found in the table below, but any decision on whether a particular work activity is licensable or not will need to be based on the risk.

Examples of licensable work

  • removing sprayed coatings (limpet asbestos)
  • removal or other work which may disturb pipe lagging
  • any work involving loose fill insulation
  • work on asbestos millboard
  • cleaning up significant quantities of loose/fine debris containing ACM dust (where the work is not sporadic and of low intensity, the control limit will be exceeded or it is not short duration work)
  • work on AIB, where the risk assessment indicates that it will not be of short duration

If the activity is licensable, you will require a licence if you are working with asbestos as an 'asbestos contractor' on someone else's premises, or within your own premises using your own employees.
A licence may include conditions requiring the licence holder to achieve specific objectives or restrict the licence holder to specific work.  For example:

  • for an ancillary task such as scaffolding where the work is licensable;
  • maintaining air extraction equipment where the work is licensable;
  • supervisory work with asbestos where the work is licensable.

All licensable work must be notified to the appropriate enforcing authority using the ASB5 form at least 14 days before the work starts.

Enforcing authority to notify based on the type of premises/activity

LA (Local Authority): Shops, offices, separate catering services, launderettes, sport, entertainment and recreational activities, exhibitions, church or religious meetings, hotels, camping and caravan sites, wholesale and retail storage

HSE (Health & Safety Executive): Factories and factory offices, civil engineering, construction and demolition sites, hospitals, research and development establishments, local government services and educational establishments, fairgrounds, radio, television and film broadcasting, sea going ships, docks, transport undertakings, domestic premises, quarries, farms (and associated activities), horticultural premises and forestries,  mines /quarries and offshore installations, licensed nuclear sites

ORR (Office of Rail and Road): Railways, railway lines, signal boxes

For both licensable and non-licensable work you will still need to make sure that you comply with the general requirements in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to prevent exposure to asbestos.

Please note: It is an offence to carry out licensable work with asbestos without a licence and you could be prosecuted.