BS 8520: Equipment used in the controlled removal of asbestos-containing materials

Asbestos removal is a high risk industry requiring the user of specialist equipment to minimise the risks to the health of those workers carrying out the work. BS 8520 is the British Standard ensuring this specialist equipment meets the quality standards required.

What is BS 8520?

BS 8520 "Equipment used in the controlled removal of asbestos-containing materials" has three parts, each constituting an individual specification or code of practice:

Part 1 (BS 8520-1:2009) "Controlled wetting equipment. Specification"

This provides the asbestos removal industry with a specification for equipment used in the controlled wetting of asbestos-containing materials. It promotes the manufacture of equipment and materials that will effectively wet asbestos-containing materials and suppress asbestos fibres both during and after the asbestos removal process. It specifies requirements for equipment for the controlled wetting of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) by injection or spraying of liquid to suppress the release of airborne asbestos. It applies to the wetting of ACMs by multipoint injection of sprayed coatings, insulating board, thermal insulation and coatings on pipes, tanks and vessels; spraying with low-pressure spray heads of insulating board and other materials less than 10mm thick. BS 8520-1 is based on PAS 60-1:2004 which is now withdrawn.

Part 2 (BS 8520-2:2009) "Negative pressure units. Specification"

Although the manufacture of negative pressure units (NPUs) has previously met the expectation of the asbestos removal industry, no specifications or specific guidance existed. It was therefore felt that there was a need to provide the asbestos removal industry with a minimum specification to raise industry standards with particular attention to health and safety issues. It specifies requirements for portable and/or transportable NPUs incorporating HEPA filters covered by BS EN 1822 for use in the controlled removal of ACMs. It applies to NPUs designed to create negative pressure within a portable decontamination unit facility or working enclosure and two part NPUs. It does not apply to local exhaust ventilation. BS 8520-2 is based on PAS 60-2: 2004 which is now withdrawn.

Part 3 (BS 8520-3:2009) "Operation, cleaning and maintenance of class H vacuum cleaners. Code of practice"

BS 8520-3 gives recommendations for the operation, cleaning and maintenance of class H (High hazard) vacuum cleaners containing a filter conforming to BS EH1822 in the controlled removal of ACMs. It does not apply to any other types of vacuum cleaner for vacuuming up liquids or other applications. It is based on PAS60-3:2004 which is now withdrawn.

What do I have to do?

Equipment that conforms to BS 8520 should be used. As far as manufacturers are concerned, it will be in their interests to ensure that they are able to supply their clients with equipment, which conforms to the relevant BS specification.

Where can I get a copy of BS 8520?

Copies of BS 8520 are available from the British Standards Institution, 389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL, telephone number 020 8996 9001, or on line at the BSI Shop website. There are three parts to the British Standard, each costing £84.00, although BSI members can purchase the documents for half price.

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Updated 2024-02-23