Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Take asbestos seriously

Shropshire companies are being warned to take the threat of asbestos seriously on their premises, after the number of prosecutions under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations more than tripled last year.

Chris Detheridge, from our Commercial Team, said: "The regulations apply to just about every business, not just factories that manufacture asbestos, and the Health and Safety Executive is now taking a tough approach to any breach in the rules.”

“Start by taking reasonable steps to find out if there’s asbestos in the building, and if so, how much, where it is, and what state it’s in. You should also make and keep up-to-date a record of the position and condition of the asbestos, and carry out a risk assessment.

“Prepare a plan on how to handle any risks, and put it into action. Regularly review and monitor the plan, and make sure anyone who’s likely to work near the asbestos or disturb it is fully informed of its location and condition.”

“Directors could also find themselves personally liable for any breach under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which could mean a prosecution and a difficult court case.”

Companies need to ask a qualified asbestos surveyor to carry out an inspection, and if it’s found on the premises, a licensed contractor must take it away.