Insulation Of Solar Panels And “Over -Roofing” Sheets On Asbestos Roof
21 Jun, 2023

The Department of Employment and Labour is aware of some building owners and clients who want to install solar panels or “over-roofing” sheets on existing asbestos roof sheets, as type 2 asbestos work.

The Asbestos Abatement Regulations aims to eliminate the risk to health of asbestos in place. To this end, certain activities performed on asbestos in place are prohibited or restricted. Through the requirements of an asbestos management plan, all employers must make provision for a final phase out date as per regulation 6 (2) (c). In addition, certain activities are prohibited in regulation 14.

The drilling into asbestos cement roof sheets at any speed may release fibres and will be increasing the surface area of the asbestos material causing asbestos dust. Replacing screws or even using existing screw-holes will cause risk of abasing the asbestos roof sheets and release fibres during the process of installation and afterwards. Although processes could well be controlled during installation, after installation the client’s employees are still left with the asbestos material in place, but now with a greater surface area for asbestos fibre release, possible damage to the sheets that was worked on, and a greater possibility for abrasion of the asbestos materials due to the slightest movement. The asbestos roof sheets will be left in place on the building and eventual abatement of the asbestos will be unlikely. This is against the intention of the Asbestos Abatement Regulations 2020.

Furthermore, with solar panels or “over-roofing” sheets installed over asbestos roof sheets, inspection of the condition and maintenance will be physically restricted, if not totally prevented.

Please note: Departmental Inspectors have been instructed to not allow asbestos work that entails the instillation of any panels or sheets onto existing asbestos roofs.

As the only Accredited Laboratory for Asbestos in South Africa, companies are required to contact us for asbestos sampling and analysis. The dangers of poor asbestos management can be life threatening, and it is our responsibility and goal to see breadwinners going home safely to their families. If you need any advice or assistance whatsoever, we recommend that you contact us so we can aid you with the management of your Asbestos compliance plans and the options you have to consider.