Asbestos - The hidden killer!

22/12/08

 

The HSE has launched a national campaign - Asbestos: The Hidden Killer, aimed at alerting tradesmen to the dangers of working with or disturbing asbestos.  The key statistic is that every week 20 tradesmen, mainly electricians, plumbers and carpenters die from asbestos related disease.

 

And while the number of deaths in traditional industries has plateaued, incidences amongst tradesmen continue to rise and now account for 255 of the 4000 asbestos related deaths per year. 

 

The campaign takes the form of local radio adverts, posters and regional initiatives set up by health and safety groups who are partnering the HSE in order to get the message across.  National coverage has included the Today programme on Radio 4 and BBC Breakfast.

 

Preventing exposure is the cornerstone of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Mick Dawson, Asbestos Practice Manager in the Compliance Management Division explains how Bureau Veritas has helped its clients navigate their way through this tricky piece of legislation for the last 20 years.

 

''When the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987 came out the focus was on preventing exposure in the last remnants of the asbestos products industry and the newly burgeoning asbestos removal industry.

 

It was years before anyone, including the HSE, realised that accidental and occupational exposures would become the problem that they are today and so there was nothing explicit in the regulations that obligated for this. Only in 2002 when updated regulations came out was a specific Duty to Manage stipulated.

 

The 2002 regulations really brought it home to duty holders that they had to proactively manage asbestos and not just identify where it was, although, the more responsible clients had been doing this for many years. We have been working with one organisation almost continuously since 1988 and so have just clocked up our 20th anniversary. At the time we implemented their original management system it was ground breaking in its inventiveness. We are proud that not only is it still in place today but it is almost a mirror image of the requirements of the current legislation.

 

The issue of occupational exposure to tradesmen is very real, especially given the amount of building work that is carried out as part of building refurbishments, remodelling and equipment installation. The majority of our work now is helping clients ensure that they have procedures in place for protecting these workers from exposure. There are many ways to do this, such as by risk assessment, physical survey or policy procedures. The challenge is that each organisation is different and each project undertaken within that organisation may require a different solution.''

 

Mick concludes, ''And that is exactly what Bureau Veritas does best, designing and implementing tailor-made solutions for the client’s own needs.''

 

The HSE Campaign Website can be accessed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/hiddenkiller/index.htm

 

Click here to download the Total Asbestos Management flyer 


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