What Asbestos Taught Us About Managing Risk

By: Asbestos Audit
 
TYNE AND WEAR, U.K. - Feb. 1, 2021 - PRLog -- The UK's asbestos industry ended on 24th August 1999 after being used heavily from the 1950s to 70s. Over 20 years on, we're starting to see the delayed latency period taking effect as asbestos deaths have peaked over the last year or so.

Asbestos was unknowingly dangerous to public health. Fibres that are too large to be broken down by the body are breathed in and lodged in our lungs, causing many adverse health effects. Inhaling asbestos is directly linked to multiple diseases, including: mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
These diseases can have high fatality rates. Furthermore, these asbestos-related illnesses have a delayed latency period.

Here, we'll explore the biggest asbestos failings and what we've learnt from them.

Failure to plan, manage, and monitor

Several construction companies have been heavily fined due to failing to recognise the risk of asbestos on school sites, putting subcontractors, staff, young children, and their families at risk. It is not only the direct inhalers of the fibre that are exposed to harm—secondary asbestos exposure occurs when those working with the material bring it home, for example, on their clothes, and affect their families.

The construction companies at hand failed to:
  • Effectively plan, manage, and monitor the work to prevent the accidental disruption of the asbestos
  • Communicate information about the asbestos
  • Secure the site with barriers or signs warning of asbestos, putting lives at risk

The importance of a duty holder

At the end of 2019, the Ministry of Defence admitted extensive failings (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/dec/12/mod-faces...) in managing asbestos across its estate, resulting in thousands of employees being exposed to the carcinogen with potential adverse health effects in years to come. Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) weren't properly identified and tracked; a serious downfall for a government department.

The duty to manage asbestos is enshrined in law—the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012 places a legal responsibility on a person assigned as the duty holder so that suitable asbestos management action is planned and taken so that buildings are safe. Duty holders who fail their responsibilities can be faced with legal action.

If you're a duty holder and are unsure of the risk in your building, find out more about asbestos survey types (https://www.asbestosaudit.co/asbestos-survey-types).

Make sure you take the appropriate safety measures—the effects of asbestos cannot be undone, but it can easily be prevented.

Sources

https://www.asbestos.com/news/2019/11/27/report-million-uk-buildings-contain-asbestos-infographic/

https://www.shponline.co.uk/in-court/asbestos-failures-lead-to-fines/
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Tags:Asbestos
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