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A duty to manage risk; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE: HEALTH & SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE: ASBESTOS A SPECIAL REPORT.

DO you own, manage or are responsible for premises with which the general public come into contact with?

If yes, ask yourself these two questions.

Are you aware of the current levels of asbestos within your premises?

Do you know if they were built with or without the use of asbestos as a building material?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you will need to carry out an asbestos survey on your premises. Failure to have this in place could result in prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

May 21 2004, saw the emergence of a new Government Regulation (Regulation 4), that affects land and property owners, landlords, management companies, business owners and those deemed responsible for property and it's maintenance. This new regulation is even more daunting due to the fact that it affects such a large proportion of the population thousands of people will be totally unaware that this new regulation affects them.

The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, introduced the new duty to manage asbestos risk in non-domestic premises. This means that the duty to locate and manage asbestos within non-domestic premises falls on its owners. This is at the core of the Governments continuing strategy to eradicate asbestos related disease.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for about 150 years on a large commercial scale, it is versatile, plentiful and ideal as a fire proofing and insulation material. Unfortunately it can also be deadly.

Although it is now illegal to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of any premises, many thousands of tonnes of it were used in the past and much of it is still in place today. It is estimated that over half a million non-domestic premises currently have some form of asbestos in them.

At least 3,500 people in Great Britain die each year from mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer as a result of past exposure to asbestos.

Any non-domestic premises, ie schools, colleges, tenant blocks, museum's, hospitals, walk-in centres, shops, offices, places of work, housing blocks, libraries, cinema's, restaurants...the list goes on..

Any owner/manager of property or person responsible for maintaining premises where the general public comes into contact with those said premises, has a duty to locate and control asbestos and also minimise any potential risk to the general public.

This will affect landowners, landlords, tenants and management companies of premises built prior to 2000. As long as the asbestos is in good condition and is not being or going to be disturbed or damaged there is no risk.

This means that those responsible must conduct proper surveys on their premises to ensure safety measures are met, and if necessary, harmful asbestos is then removed. Only fully qualified surveyors and removal experts must carry out these duties.

It is also noted that employers, contractors and workers involved in the building trades, such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians and for anyone else who may come into contact with asbestos material during their work, for example, computer installers, cabling engineers etc, are aware of the risks involved. The message from the HSE is to act NOW!

CAPTION(S):

CONTACT: Workers involved in building trades including cabling engineers, carpenters and electricians also need to be aware of the new regulations.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 16, 2004
Words:553
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