When do I need a licence to work with asbestos?
Regulation 2 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, defines licensable work with asbestos:
- where the exposure to asbestos of employees is not sporadic and of low intensity
- the risk assessment cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded
- on asbestos coating
- on asbestos insulating board or asbestos insulation for which the risk assessment:
- demonstrates that the work is not sporadic and of low intensity
- cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded
- demonstrates that the work is not short duration work
Regulation 8 requires an employer to be granted a licence in order to undertake licensable work with asbestos.
This means that an employer must hold a licence granted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) before undertaking higher risk work with asbestos, as defined above.
You will also need a licence to carry out work which is ancillary to licensable work with asbestos, such as putting up a scaffold to provide access for licensable work where it is foreseeable that the scaffolding activity is likely to disturb the asbestos.
Important: We will only grant a licence to those who plan to do work that requires a licence. Although you may not need a licence to carry out other work with asbestos, you will still need to make sure that you comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to prevent exposure to asbestos.
Please note: It is an offence to carry out licensable work without a licence and you could be prosecuted.
What is the application process?
This falls into 3-stages:
- Stage 1 - Application: you complete an ASB1 asbestos licence application form, submit it electronically to HSE’s Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) and pay the appropriate asbestos licence assessment fee.
- Stage 2 - Assessment: one of HSE’s inspectors will formally assess you.
- Stage 3 - Decision: HSE will grant a licence or explain what more you need to do to obtain a licence.
Stage 1 - Application
How do I apply for a licence?
You can request your intention to apply for a licence by contacting HSE. Please only use this for asbestos licence applications.
The ASB1 asbestos licence application form will be sent to you electronically when you request it, along with Guidance on the process and payment options for the asbestos licence assessment fee. Before completing the ASB1, you must read the guidance notes and ensure that you have all the necessary information to hand to enable you to complete the form.
Important: The ASB1 is a legal document and must be submitted by someone with authority within your company, such as the Managing Director or another Director. If you are an English or Welsh partnership, all of the Partners must be declared on the form and one of those Partners must submit it. Please state your correct legal name if you are a limited company, a PLC or a limited liability partnership.
Please note: It is a criminal offence to make a false declaration.
How long does this process normally take?
The HSE aim to process new applications in 8 weeks.
The 8 week timeframe will commence on confirmation of payment of the asbestos licence assessment fee. This is to allow the HSE sufficient time to process your application, asbestos licence assessment fee and properly assess your suitability to hold a licence.
Please note that your application will not be fully processed and a licence assessment will not be arranged and carried out until the ALU receive confirmation of full payment of the asbestos licence assessment fee (required by The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2021). However, HSE will not unduly delay any licensing decision and will let you know as soon as a licence decision has been made.
What is the fee for the licence assessment process?
The current asbestos licence assessment fee is £3,439.00. The assessment process will only commence once full payment has been made. Payment can be made either online, via credit/debit card/PayPal or by invoice. The fee is non-refundable if your application is unsuccessful or if you withdraw your application following assessment.
Important: There is also a charge for the re-assessment, amendment or replacement of a licence.
|1 Fee for renewal licence
|2 Fee for reassessment following conditional refusal
|3 Fee for amendment of condition or duration of licence
|4 Fee for other amendment (eg change of address) or replacement of a licence
Why do I have to pay a fee?
A fee is payable by the applicant to the HSE on each application for a licence under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The fee is a fixed fee, regardless of the type of licence applied for/granted and is not linked to the term of the licence. The fee is for the assessment of an applicant’s fitness to hold a licence to work with asbestos and must be paid in full on each application and before any assessment is carried out. It is not for 'paying for a licence'.
HSE has no power to set fees in its own right. HSE is required by HM Treasury to recover the full costs incurred in regulating permissioning regimes such as asbestos licensing. HSE recommends fees to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions based on the full economic costs incurred.
Important: The cost of the fee is routinely reviewed and can rise as well as fall. The fee process is subject to both internal and external audit.
Do I need a separate application form for different types of licence?
No. The ASB1 is the standard form for all new licence applications.
Stage 2 - Assessment
What will the inspector assess me on?
You will undergo a formal assessment involving.
- A formal evaluation of your health and safety management system, including:
- training and competence
- worker Involvement
A formal assessment of your understanding and knowledge of asbestos specific matters, including your experience of working with asbestos. This will include:
- medical certification
- Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), including face-fit tests
- hardware (negative pressure units (NPUs), decontamination units (DCUs), vacuum cleaners etc)
- maintenance of records
Following the assessment, the inspector will complete an ASB4 Form and make recommendations to the ALU.
Important: You will not be granted a licence without being able to demonstrate management/supervisory competency, including recent training. Also, employees must have appropriate training, RPE, face-fit testing and medical surveillance (where necessary) before any work with licensable material is carried out.
Please note: If you are at all unsure, you may wish to postpone the application/assessment until you are confident that you are able to study and understand these requirements.
Stage 3 - Decision
Successful assessment - licence granted
What should I do with my licence when I receive it?
Keep it in a safe place.
Important: You should also display a copy of the licence at every site where you are working.
My company structure/name has changed or I have moved to new premises, how can I get my licence details updated?
All changes, either to a company structure or name/address details should be notified in writing (email) to the ALU. A fee is payable for this, which varies depending on the exact circumstances. Details of the current fees are noted in the table above.
How long does my licence last for?
Your first licence term will be for one year.
Will my licence have any special conditions?
Yes. Although your licence may have more, all licences have 3 standard conditions, summarised as:
- You must display your licence or a copy of it at every work site.
- You must notify the relevant enforcing authority (HSE or your local authority) at least 14 days in advance that you intend to work with asbestos.
- You must prepare a suitable and sufficient Plan of Work and equipment specification and send them, if requested, to the enforcing authority.
Important: HSE also have the power to amend, alter or revoke licences.
How do I renew my licence?
The ALU will email you 4 months before your licence expires to remind you that your existing licence is about expire. When you indicate your intention to renew your licence, the ALU will send you all the information required in order for you to renew your licence. Renewal licences are normally granted for three years (maximum licence term).
Important: If you have a licence but have not carried out any work during the licence period, we will explore the reasons for this with you. We will normally only grant you with a one year licence on renewal, subject to a successful assessment. Should there be no work carried out in the next licence term, then the renewal of the licence will not be considered, to reflect the HSE’s policy on licensing without evidence of asbestos work.
Unsuccessful assessment - licence not granted
If I am unsuccessful, what happens next?
The ALU will write to you explaining why we are not granting a licence.
- Outright refusal: Should you decide to apply again, you will have to start the whole process again.
- Conditional refusal: From the date of the conditional refusal letter, you have 4 months to rectify the matters that need attention and you will have to be re-assessed, which is subject to a fee. Details of the current fees are noted in the table above.
Where can I see more details about the licensing process?
Please see the Asbestos Licence Assessment, Amendment and Revocation Guide (ALAARG) (PDF) for more information. The guide provides information on the asbestos licensing regime and sets out the standards required by applicants.