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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)

Environmental Management Plan : Department of Labour

Chapter 4 : Environmental Management Policies

4.3. Asbestos Regulations



The Asbestos Regulations were promulgated in April 1987 under the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act (Act 6 of 1983), which since has been replaced by the OHSA. They are currently under revision. The aim of the current Asbestos Regulations is to protect workers, who fall under the jurisdiction of the OHSA, against health risks posed by exposure to asbestos.


The general scope of these regulations applies to all employers who use or process asbestos in raw mineral form, and to all employers who process materials containing asbestos. The regulations put forward the minimum permissible exposure level to asbestos and the provision by the employer of proper respiratory equipment for employees. In addition, there is provision that the employees should abide by instructions given by the employer regarding the prevention of the release of asbestos dust into the environment.


In the case of an accidental release of asbestos into the workplace, these regulations make provision for remedial measures to be followed. These include cleaning-up procedures in such a manner that asbestos dust neither escapes nor is discharged into the air to an extent that it contaminates the workplace or the environment.


The regulations also provide cautionary principles with regard to the packaging, transport and storage of asbestos so as to prevent or minimize accidental release. With regard to the disposal of asbestos, steps are in place to ensure that all waste is disposed of only on sites specifically designated for this purpose in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act, (Act 73 of 1989), and in such a manner that it does not cause a hazard inside or outside the industry and will not cause a hazard in the future. With regard to the transport of asbestos waste, provision is made with regard to written instructions and training on the action to be taken for cleaning up in the event of accidental spillage, which has to be given to the drivers of vehicles carrying such waste.