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July 5, 2022

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Asbestos

Reviewing the latest Work and Pensions Committee’s report on asbestos management

Asbestos management does not stand still, and following the release of HSG 248: The Analyst Guide Edition 2 in 2021, we now have the UK Government Work and Pensions (W&P) Committee report into the Health and Safety Executive’s approach to asbestos management. Both of these publications have the potential to improve asbestos management and reduce accidental exposure today and in the future.

Reviewing the Latest Work and Pensions Committee’s Report on Asbestos ManagementEven though the use of asbestos has been banned since 1999, the HSE stated at the inquiry meeting in February 2022 that at least 300,000 business premises still contained asbestos. With this statement in mind, 10 recommendations have been made which, if and when implemented by the HSE, will structure the future of asbestos management in the UK.

Key recommendations within the report include:

  1. Developing and implementing a robust research framework for the measurement of exposure in buildings. The framework should be published by October 2022
  2. A deadline of 40 years has been set for the removal of asbestos within non-domestic buildings. A strategic plan to achieve this will be developed and published, focusing on removing the highest risk asbestos and the highest risk settings
  3. Continuing to review evidence relating to the routine environmental air monitoring of asbestos fibres
  4. Strengthening guidance to duty holders and how information is communicated regarding ACMs and risks in buildings, i.e. digital technologies
  5. Developing a central digital register for public buildings
  6. Increasing the number of HSE inspections supported by adequate Government funding
  7. Investing more in sustained campaigning work, combining with the development of a broader strategy for asbestos management
  8. Considering how the HSE could consolidate, tighten and simplify the types of asbestos work
  9. It is mandatory for all surveys to be undertaken by accredited organisations/individuals. Building owners to commission air analysts for 4-stage clearance activities
  10. Reviewing the Control of Asbestos Regulations to include a thorough written assessment of moves towards more stringent occupational exposure limits as seen in Europe. This should ensure that the extent of the asbestos legacy in UK is not seen as a reason to tolerate poorer health standards.

Asbestos management is not only a problem within the UK, and the W&P report does highlight the different approaches taken to asbestos management, monitoring and legal exposure limits across Europe within its recommendations. The UK Government now has two months to respond to these findings and recommendations and decide how the country will act accordingly.

SOCOTEC supports the findings of the inquiry and welcomes any action to increase the effectiveness of asbestos management in the UK. Through our highly experienced asbestos consultancy teams situated across the country, we aim to support clients in reducing the risks posed by asbestos containing materials both now and in the future.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.

stress

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