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Asbestos.

Published by Safety Net Team

April 19, 2024

Asbestos

Asbestos, a collective term for a variety of fibrous minerals, was once extensively utilized due to its resistance to combustion, excellent electrical and thermal insulation qualities, and strength. Nevertheless, exposure to asbestos fibres poses severe health risks. In the UK, annual fatalities linked to asbestos exposure surpass 5000, reportedly reaching their highest point around 2020. Stringent legislative measures govern the handling of asbestos in workplaces. This discourse delineates the primary obligations incumbent upon duty holders and employers for the management or elimination of asbestos-containing materials in buildings where asbestos is potentially present.

Employers’ Duties

Employers are required to:

  • ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all employees
  • prevent the exposure of employees to asbestos
  • identify whether their building contains asbestos, what condition it is in and assess the risk, eg if it is likely to release fibres — if there is a risk, employers must make a plan to manage the risk and protect employees and other persons from exposure to asbestos
  • apply the measures identified unless another party is responsible for maintaining and repairing all or part of the property, or the employer does not have control of the building
  • to use contractors licensed by the Health and Safety Executive for any work with asbestos insulation or asbestos insulation board, with the exception of work in which the exposure is sporadic or of low intensity
  • ensure that asbestos waste is transported in sealed, labelled containers with consignment notes, and disposed of at licensed sites
  • make no use of any product that contains asbestos.

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