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Survey Safe is an independent consulting firm

offering comprehensive asbestos surveying

solutions to domestic and industrial clients.

You can be assured that you will be offered

the best possible advice at competitive rates.

New Asbestos Regulations introduced but still no real Asbestos Awareness

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012).

An updated version of The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012) came into force recently, but judging by an awareness survey that has been conducted, there is still considerable ignorance about the the dangers of asbestos.

The new Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012) came into force on 6 April, six years after the original version.

The new regulations coincide with the publication of the Great British Asbestos Survey. This survey highlights a frightening lack of awareness of legal responsibilities between duty holders, in other words, those who own or operate buildings which contain asbestos and companies like contractors whose employees may be exposed to asbestos.

That suggests that compliance with CAR 2012 is not going to be very high.

The Asbestos Regulations Still Being Flouted.

Like before, the new regulations apply to work that involves the removal, repair or disturbance of asbestos and asbestos containing materials, and has serious implications for anyone concerned with the maintenance or repair of buildings.

A failure to comply with the new regulations constitutes a criminal offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, attracting a penalty of up to two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

CAR 2012 has now widened the statutory obligations for contractors, tenants and property owners alike.

These new regulations follow the European Commissions opinion that previous United Kingdom legislation fell short of fully implementing the European Union Directive for the protection of workers.

Employers Duties with Regard to Asbestos.

This means that there are new duties for employers who carry out certain types of low risk, short duration work. This includes:

  • Notifying any such work to the relevant enforcing authority.
  • Carrying out the necessary medical examinations on workers. There is a transitional period and relevant low risk workers need to have their first medical examination by April 30th 2015.
  • Keeping an up to date register for every worker and detailing the nature and duration of the work they have undertaken with asbestos.

These regulations also create a new category of notifiable non licensed work. Work has to be licensed unless it is only sporadic and of low intensity and it can be demonstrated that the control limit measured over a continuous 4 hour period has not been reached.

Having said that, unlicensed work must still be notified to the relevant authority unless it is limited to:

  • Non continuous maintenance activities in which only non friable materials are to be handled.
  • Removal without deterioration of non degraded materials.
  • Encapsulation or sealing of materials that are still in good condition.
  • Air monitoring, control and sampling of materials.

Besides these practical issues, there is now the additional threat of having a victim, their dependants or the victims estate being entitled to bring a separate civil claim for damages against any employer that negligently exposed the victim to the asbestos in the first place. It should be noted that the damages awarded can reach £80,000 per case for pain and suffering alone.

Contractors should also be aware of a very important Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, in the Employers Liability Insurance "Trigger" Litigation. This held that mesothelioma is ‘sustained’ or ‘contracted’ at the moment when an employee is wrongfully exposed to asbestos. What this means is that an insurance companies liability will be triggered as long as the employers liability policy was in place at the date of asbestos inhalation, even if an asbestos related illness manifests itself many years later.

Contractors are also advised that this ruling could substantially increase their insurance premiums, and some policies may not even cover asbestos claims at all.

The Great British Asbestos Survey

This survey was conducted in 2011. It gives an idea of the levels of awareness about asbestos management rules. Some of the most important findings were:

  1. 35% of contractors said that they had disturbed asbestos during their work.
  2. 32% of duty holders were not even aware of their 'duty to manage' asbestos, which has existed since 2004.
  3. 37% of duty holders do not even have an asbestos management plan in place at all.
  4. 25% of asbestos surveys are not completed in line with guidance.
  5. 17% of contractors do not request any asbestos information from their clients.
  6. 40% of contractors say they do not receive any asbestos information from their commercial clients.
  7. 60% of contractors say they do not receive asbestos information from their residential clients.
  8. 25% of respondents had not even received asbestos awareness training.

Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 07730 446 224, email us at info@survey-safe.com or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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07730 446 224