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Asbestos warning for property owners

Laytons Solicitors are warning property owners, landlords and managing agents to be aware of new regulations that require them to “manage” asbestos in the workplace. The regulations will come into force on 21 May 2004, and represent an effort on the part of the Health and Safety Executive to reduce workers exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos remains the largest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Asbestos is prevalent in all but the newest of buildings given that blue and brown asbestos was only banned in 1985 and white asbestos in 1999. The regulations are aimed at protecting workers by providing them with information, which will in turn enable them to plan their work more safely.

The new regulations impose a duty on anybody contractually responsible for maintaining and repairing all or part of a property to identify where asbestos materials may have been used. Once identified, a written record must be kept of the location, the quantity and the condition of any asbestos which has been found. The report must also describe whether there are parts of the building which have not been assessed. From this record an assessment of the risk of exposure by any individual needs to be made and a management plan drawn up. The plan should be reviewed regularly.

The regulations are expected to be vigorously enforced by Health and Safety Executive inspectors who will carry out visits and conduct checks on management plans.

Source: Laytons

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