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News

Asbestos duty to manage

HSE InfoLine : 12 February, 2004  (Company News)
Commenting on an article in the British Medical Journal 30/1/04, once again highlighting the likely deaths from mesothelioma, Bill MacDonald, Head of asbestos policy at HSE, said:
Commenting on an article in the British Medical Journal 30/1/04, once again highlighting the likely deaths from mesothelioma, Bill MacDonald, Head of asbestos policy at HSE, said:

'The expected rise in deaths from asbestos-related disease clearly represents a tragedy for the many victims and their families. Sadly, we are powerless to prevent these deaths, caused by exposure many years ago, but it is possible to minimise the risk of future exposure. Dutyholders should take action now, to actively manage the risk, particularly from asbestos in buildings, ahead of May this year when it will become their legal duty to do so.'

Recognition of the risks of asbestos has in the last 20 years led the Government, on the advice of the Health and Safety Commission, to ban the import of asbestos and place stringent controls on most work activities involving asbestos. The new regulations are a further major step and will place a duty on those responsible for workplaces and common areas of residential properties to manage any asbestos in those premises to protect people carrying-out maintenance.

The duty to manage means only working on materials once they have been checked for any asbestos. If asbestos is in good condition, it should not be removed, providing that steps are taken to warn anyone likely to disturb it. If the asbestos is in bad condition, it should be safely removed by companies licensed to do so.
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