Transportation of Asbestos Waste - Update

Guidance that accompanies the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) defines asbestos waste as:

Asbestos products or materials that are ready for disposal, including building materials, dust, rubble, disposable PPE, rags used for cleaning and used tools that cannot be properly decontaminated.

The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) which accompanies CAR 2012 states that, when packing asbestos waste:

  • it should be securely sealed in suitable, labelled bags, wrapping or packaging as it is produced;
    any bags, wrapping or packaging used must be designed, constructed and maintained to make sure that no asbestos fibres can be released during handling or transport;
  • for most waste, double plastic sacks are suitable, provided they will not split during normal use;
  • stronger packages must be used if the waste contains sharp metal fragments or other materials that could puncture plastic sacks;
  • any waste where the escape of hazardous quantities of respirable asbestos fibres can occur during carriage should be placed in UN-approved packaging. This is available in up to 2 tonnes capacity. (This does not apply to asbestos cement or textured decorative coatings.)
    Wherever practicable, large items of rigid ACM such as sheets of asbestos cement and textured coatings attached to a board should not be broken up or cut down for disposal in plastic sacks.

The intact rigid waste should be double wrapped in suitable polythene sheeting (1000 gauge or equivalent) or other suitable material and labelled accordingly.

There had been some concern that in some cases suitable UN packaging for large items of asbestos waste, where the escape of hazardous quantities of respirable asbestos fibres could occur (fibrous waste), was not available, and therefore rather than break up or cut down the items of waste they were wrapped in polythene and labelled for transportation. Waste which is wrapped in this way is not compliant with the requirements of the Control of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG) or the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) Regulations.

Most, if not all, insurance policies held by asbestos removal contractors have a clause, which in some shape or form, requires the holder of the policy to comply with the law when conducting their business. Therefore, there was concern that asbestos removal contractors may be in breach of their insurance policy, and exposing themselves to the risk that an insurance claim may be rejected, if the claim involved spillage of waste which was not correctly packaged in accordance with CDR and ADR.

The Department for Transport (DfT) informed us that most items of ‘large’ fibrous asbestos waste would be considered to be manufactured items (i.e. an asbestos product produced via a manufacturing process). Therefore, as manufactured, the CDG and ADR packaging requirements would not apply as per SP168 of ADR. An item of ‘large’ fibrous asbestos waste (i.e. which would not fit into standard asbestos waste bags) that could be considered as a non-manufactured article, was lengths of ‘wrap and cut’ pipework which were lagged with hand applied insulation. As a result of this the DfT issued The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 Authorisation No 465.

The purpose of the Authorisation was:

To permit the carriage of UN2212 WASTE ASBESTOS, AMPHIBOLE AND UN2590 WASTE ASBESTOS, CHRYSOTILE when Special Provision 168 cannot be utilised because the waste is neither bonded nor a manufactured article and UN approved-packaging is not available due to the size of the item to be transported.

The Authorisation, which came into effect immediately and remained valid until 31st January 2017, was granted whilst suitable UN approved-packaging was sourced.

Therefore, as suitable packaging for ‘large’ asbestos waste items is now available the Authorisation expired on the 31st January and there is no requirement to extend it.

ARCA is aware of two products for the packaging for ‘large’ asbestos waste items; Hazibag from Windsor Waste and ‘pipe bag’ from EASE; however, other suitable packaging may be available from other manufacturers or suppliers.