Under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2006, a duty to manage asbestos is set out for those individuals with responsibility for protecting others who work in non-domestic premises.

It is designed to prevent health risks from exposure to asbestos when the material is uncovered during property renovations or demolition.

Over 1.8 million people are exposed each year to asbestos and there is still a high incidence of asbestos mishandling due to a lack of asbestos awareness and failure to observe Asbestos Regulations, a part of a construction trade worker’s training.

Throughout much of the twentieth century, UK manufacturing and engineering employers continually ignored the dangers of asbestos exposure despite the growing medical evidence.

Consequently, many thousands of industrial workers were simply not aware that the breathing in of asbestos fibre dust, which remains permanently embedded within the linings of the lungs, can develop into asbestosis disease or the malignant incurable cancer, mesothelioma.

The first asbestosis symptoms would only be apparent some 15 to 50 years later, when the disease was often at an advanced stage and life expectancy is little more than between 4 to 18 months.

Unfortunately, there is still an overwhelming lack of knowledge by both building companies, premises owners and property managers to the necessary actions required to properly and legally contain and dispose of asbestos material when it is found.

The ‘General Requirements’ of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 include:                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

– Licensing of work with asbestos.
– Notification of work with asbestos.
– Information, instruction and training.
– Arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies.

Arrangements for proper asbestos containment and removal by authorised, licensed contractors must be undertaken immediately.

At the outset, an asbestos management plan must be proposed, which will prevent any unintentional disturbance of asbestos by following clearly defined procedures and individual responsibilities. Work cannot be started until the asbestos plan has been completed and a Refurbishment/Demolition Survey for works affecting the fabric of the building and to determine exactly where the asbestos is located is essential.

As recently as 2001, mesothelioma was responsible for more than 1,800 reported deaths and in 2008, rising above 2,250 in 2009, with over 800 new cases of asbestosis having been reported. Currently, there are around 4,000 deaths a year from asbestos-related disease.