Asbestos lurks in workplaces

HSC proposes specific duties to manage and record the condition of asbestos
in workplace buildings

There are still thousands of workplaces with asbestos, and diseases linked
with the substance now kill more people each year than road accidents.

The shocking finding has been highlighted by the TUC, as the Health & Safety
Commission launched proposals on combating the threat.

HSC chairman Bill Callaghan wants to place specific duties on those
responsible for premises to manage and record the condition of asbestos in
workplace buildings. Proposed duties include: determining the condition of
materials likely to contain the substance and monitoring the condition and
develop plans to manage the risk.

The duties are set to become law by next year. In the meantime, the TUC has
produced a guide of good practice based on the same principles as the planned
duties.

The TUC estimates that in 20 years’ time asbestos-related diseases will have
become the largest single cause of male mortality under the age of 65. The
fibre causes asbestosis, which increases the risk of mesothelioma, which is
cancer of the lining of the lung.

"Despite the ban [on use of asbestos] there are still millions of
tonnes of the fatal fibre lurking in walls and ceilings, in pipes, boilers and
brake laggings," said TUC General Secretary John Monks. "All we can
do is reduce the risk."

In addition the Health & Safety Executive has produced two videos How
Are You Today? on risks to those in building-related occupations.

www.tuc.org.uk  www.hse.gov.uk

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