29 January 2014
In our legal update titled, "Air Pollution Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Ban on the Use, Supply, Import and Transhipment of Asbestos or Asbestos Containing Material" dated 3 October 2013, we advised that the said Bill was published in the Gazette on 27 September 2013 and would be introduced into the Legislative Council in October 2013. The Bill sought to amend the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311) by prohibiting (unless exempted) the use, supply, import and transhipment of all types of asbestos or asbestos-containing material, and to amend the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Regulation by prohibiting the use of all types of asbestos in industrial undertakings.
The Air Pollution Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 2013 (Amendment Ordinance) was passed by the Legislative Council on 22 January 2014 and will come into operation on 4 April 2014.
It is understood that the Environment Protection Department (EPD) will work with the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board to publish a booklet about the most common sources of asbestos-containing material. The EPD has also uploaded on its website a list of machinery/products (for e.g., trucks/vehicles, generators, pumps, lift equipment/elevators etc.) which may contain asbestos, so as to enhance the asbestos awareness and knowledge of those persons who are involved in construction activities at industrial undertakings. Components of the machinery/products which may contain asbestos or asbestos-containing material include brake pads, brake lining, clutches, valve rings and valve stem packing which are used in trucks/vehicles, roofing and tiling materials and gaskets which are used in generators, and seals and gaskets which are used in pumps. Further, the EPD has compiled a list of suppliers of asbestos product substitutes to (i) facilitate the smooth switch from the use of asbestos products to safer and more reliable substitutes, and (ii) provide the industries and general public with useful information about asbestos substitutes, so that users can search for suitable suppliers supplying asbestos substitutes.