Exposure to asbestos is a significant concern to anyone but none more so than those in the construction industry. It accounts for over 5,000 deaths each year in the UK alone, and this number is rising. Since 2019 the amount of asbestos-related deaths have increased by around 6%.
Even though the risk is more widely known and more is being done to contain these risks, it is still a problem. As an employer of construction workers, it is your duty of care to ensure that your entire workforce is protected from asbestos and the harm it may cause.
In fact, in the UK, under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, it is now law to provide this protection. Failing to do so can lead to hefty fines and prison sentences for all those responsible. Something as simple as getting an asbestos survey London could be the difference between life and slow, painful death for your employees.
Let’s explore what you can do as an employer to ensure your workforce is fully protected.
Education On Regulations & Laws
Given the increased knowledge of the harmful effects of asbestos on construction workers, there are plenty of resources online to educate yourself. It is advisable as an employer to read and understand the regulations you must abide by. The best place to look for these laws and guidance would be the UK Government website.
However, the responsibility to understand the risks and laws falls on everyone involved with the process. This includes your construction workers. You are also obliged to provide them with the information they need to ensure themselves and everyone around them are safe.
Conducting Asbestos Surveys
An asbestos survey should be carried out before any work starts on any property. You must use a trained and certified asbestos survey company. They will come to the site, and in a controlled manner, remove a small sample of the materials in question. This sample will be sent to a lab where it can be tested.
Only once this test is complete and it can be verified that no asbestos is present should work commence. If there is doubt, a second opinion should be sought.
When looking for an asbestos survey in London make sure you use a reputable company.
Person Protective Equipment should be provided to all employees by the employer before any work on or near asbestos takes place. This also applies to any materials you suspect might be asbestos. Some examples of suitable PPE would be gloves, eye protection and, most importantly, asbestos-grade face masks or breathing apparatus.
Is it essential to consider if there is any risk whatsoever that any materials within the area you are working contain asbestos; a complete asbestos survey should be carried out by a trained & certified professional.
So there you have some practical advice on how to keep your workforce safe when working with asbestos. Remember you can never be too sure when it comes to asbestos and the duty falls on you to keep everyone around you safe. Make sure you do your research when looking for an asbestos survey in London as there are companies out there operating without the correct licenses & certificates. You may be the one held responsible if you allow them to do asbestos removal work without the necessary documentation in place.