New Regulations to Regarding Asbestos Removal


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New regulations have been put into place in order to make the removal of asbestos safer for workers and the public. The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have set forth new rules regarding work involving asbestos. Asbestos has been linked to a number of serious illnesses including cancer. The new rules state that companies need to have a working plan in place to deal with asbestos and also perform a risk assessment if asbestos is present. Companies must also notify the Ministry of Manpower at least seven days prior to beginning work if asbestos is present.

In addition, all buildings that were constructed prior to the year 1991 must also be assessed for asbestos-containing materials. This assessment must be done before the building can be renovated or demolished. The assessor for the build must also pass a course that has been administered by the Workforce Development Agency in order to be considered eligible to make the assessment.

Asbestos is commonly located in older building and ships. It was previously used as a material for insulating against heat back in the 1960's and 1970's. In 1988, the import of asbestos into Singapore was banned after the discovery was made that it was hazardous. Brake pad linings and clutch linings containing asbestos were also banned back in 1995.

In a recent review, the Ministry of Manpower found that 11 out of 36 worksites had asbestos. It had already issued five orders for stop-work and 20 fines. Structures that were built before 1991 tend to have asbestos containing materials in the corrugated roofs, ceiling boards, floor tiles and partition walls, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor, according to a statement made at the Asbestos Forum. These structures are the primary target of the new rules. 

 

Asbestos may only be removed by qualified contractors that have been authorised by these government offices. The new WSH (Asbestos) Regulations come with stiff penalties for non-compliance including a $20,000 fine and potential jail time. The authors on the new regulations hope that the new rules will ensure that asbestos removal occurs in an ethical and safe manner.

 

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