Health and safety officers on asbestos inspection trail

HEALTH and safety inspectors will be targeting companies across Huntingdonshire in the coming weeks to ensure compliance with asbestos regulations.

HEALTH and safety inspectors will be targeting companies across Huntingdonshire in the coming weeks to ensure compliance with asbestos regulations.

The district council’s environmental health officers and inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive will be targeting businesses to ensure they are not exposing employees to potentially harmful asbestos fibres and are complying with their duty to manage any asbestos present in their premises.

Representatives from the HSE and the district council will be spending a number of days visiting businesses to assess whether duty holders have taken appropriate measures to comply with their responsibilities under the asbestos regulations.

A pilot project carried out in 2009 revealed that around 40 per cent of businesses may not be complying with their duties under this important legislation.

All businesses will receive a letter and information pack containing advice and information to remind them of their responsibilities under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and to advise them of the planned visits in August, HDC said.

At around 4,000 deaths per year, asbestos-related diseases are still the largest occupational killers in the UK. Around 25 per cent of those dying from asbestos-related disease have worked in the building, maintenance and repair trades some time during their working lives.

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Councillor Andrew Hansard, executive councillor for housing and public heath said: “These inspections are to try to prevent people suffering unnecessarily from the effects of asbestos. The council offers advice to businesses on what to do if it is thought that asbestos may be present in a building.”

The regulations require the duty holder to take the following key actions:

n to take reasonable steps to find any asbestos in the premises and assess the condition of these materials

n to presume that materials do contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not

n to prepare a record of the location and condition of these asbestos-containing materials and assess the risk from them

n to prepare and implement a plan to manage those risks, eg fibre release from friable asbestos insulation board panels

n to provide information on the location and condition of the material to anyone who is liable to disturb it

n to monitor the condition of the material left in place, and to review the assessment of risk periodically.

INFORMATION: www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/managing

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