Call For Softer Asbestos Laws – What Impact Will it Have on Safety?

Asbestos Laws

When designing laws that will protect everyone on a daily basis, people welcome strict and rigid enforcement, if it ensures that they and their families can go about their lives in a safe environment. However, when someone tries to campaign to make the laws on something less harsh, it can be understandably concerning. And that is exactly what someone is attempting to do; only it is regarding the worrying topic of asbestos.

So, what’s going on?

Concerns have been raised over the actions of Steve Baker, who is a recently appointed Brexit minister. Mr Baker has a long history of campaigning to weaken the laws surrounding asbestos and that the government makes the removal of the substances less of a priority. The existing legislation was put in place by the European Union, which is why it is now concerning as we are on the run-up to the withdrawal from the EU completely. The worry is that Mr Baker will use his position once the withdrawal has been completed in order to weaken the laws and reduce the crackdown on asbestos, having been noted as asking the secretary of state for work and pensions will ‘commission an inquiry into the appropriateness of the health and safety precautions in force in respect of asbestos cement’, back in October of 2010.

What impact will softer asbestos laws have on our safety?

A weaker emphasis on these laws could be very concerning for the safety of people living in older buildings (any building built before 2000). As some people may be aware, asbestos was used in the construction of older buildings due to it being a robust and fire-resistant material. However, once the hazardous nature of asbestos came to light, the use of asbestos declined. Although there was a decline in the use of asbestos it was not completely banned in the UK until November 1999. As a result of the amount of asbestos present within buildings, there has been a duty to manage asbestos in all non-domestic premises enforced since 2004. Asbestos can be present in all types of building, but was heavily used in schools. A weaker asbestos law in this regard could lead to the asbestos not being removed or even managed correctly, if it stops being a priority. This means that poorly managed asbestos present in public buildings, including primary and secondary schools, could all help to contribute to the number of asbestos-related deaths.

There were 2,542 mesothelioma deaths recorded in 2015 due to past asbestos exposures. This was a slight increase from 2,515 recorded in 2014. There were similar numbers of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos at the same time. Although these numbers are high, the death rates associated with asbestos exposure is estimated to decrease at the end of the current decade. This decrease will corollate with the various legislative changes which were specifically put in place to control the risks and prevent exposure to asbestos. Any weakening in asbestos laws could see this predicted decrease reverse.

Overall, a call for weaker asbestos laws could be very alarming and present a large impact on our safety and future death rates. If asbestos laws are made less effective, so that asbestos management is not such an enforced law, then people who work in older offices, on construction sites, or even young children who attend schools could all be exposed to asbestos. Regarding an impact, this could be very, very dangerous for the general public, and every action should be taken to ensure that these laws are not altered or damaged in any way.

If you would like to speak with one of our asbestos consultants about anything asbestos related, you can contact the team by clicking here. Alternatively, find out more of what we do in our services.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

emery 5282219 1920 e1620219017841

Asbestos forces homeowner to live in a hotel for almost a year

A couple of weeks ago we heard about an interesting case which clearly illustrates why we should all be on the look out for asbestos in our everyday lives. The case involved a garage door installation company Garage Doors (Northern) Ltd which was fined after it failed to manage asbestos safely during work on a …

Read More

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 45

Asbestos stops work on major hospital project

At Acorn we’ve made it our mission to raise awareness about how widespread asbestos is throughout the UK. The reason for this is simple – every year thousands of people in our country die from preventable diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is estimated to be present in more than 1.5 million buildings in …

Read More

Acorn Analytical Services asbestos surveyors Joseph Bell Daniel Crask at the Frank Bruno Foundation Centre e1618310393601

Acorn helps boxing legend to launch new centre

We are very proud to reveal we have been involved in an exciting new project to help create a new centre backed by none other than boxing legend, Frank Bruno. The Frank Bruno Foundation exists to provide support and the encouragement to succeed to those facing and recovering from mental ill-health. Its volunteers have worked …

Read More

Asbestos artex testing 2

Asbestos Artex Testing – Textured Decorative Coatings

Why would you need asbestos Artex testing? First things first we need to explain that the word “Artex” is a trademark of Artex Ltd which is a company based in the UK. The word Artex is commonly used to describe a textured/decorative coating commonly used for interior decorating. Artex or textured coatings were frequently used …

Read More

Acorn Jan 2020 Low Res 135 e1617699112137

What does asbestos mean to me?

When we decided to launch the ‘What does asbestos mean to me?’ campaign, which runs alongside Global Asbestos Awareness Week this week (#2021GAAW), I was asked to answer the question and I couldn’t help but get reflective. I’ve never met anyone that dreams of going into the asbestos industry when they grow up and I was no different. In fact, …

Read More

Ian Stone and Neil Munro What does asbestos mean to me 2021GAAW scaled e1617701400805

Campaign shines a spotlight on dangers of asbestos

One of the UK’s most experienced teams of asbestos experts is championing a global campaign which launches today to raise awareness of the deadly substance. Leading asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services is backing Global Asbestos Awareness Week – which runs from April 1 to April 7 – with the launch of its own campaign entitled …

Read More

hammer 719061 1920 e1616677177737

Companies fined for failing to manage asbestos safely

We recently heard about a case of a construction company and a property management company being fined thousands of pounds after they failed to manage asbestos safely during the refurbishment of a former office block in Stockport. Last month, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard Samer Constructions Limited had …

Read More

Collage e1608286815218

Mesothelioma – Hard to Say, Easy to Prevent

In recent months we have been privileged to support a dynamic new charity that is fighting to eradicate the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. ActionMeso launched last year to bring together mesothelioma patients with carers, healthcare and legal professionals, asbestos removal firms and construction companies. Together they want to raise awareness across the UK about this devastating …

Read More

Acorn Jan 2020 Low Res 166 e1615384829809

Acorn launches free asbestos advice surgery

When we say we’re committed to eradicating people’s asbestos problems we mean it! Which is why we’re excited to launch our asbestos advice surgery! In our day-to-day work we provide businesses with innovative asbestos management services which reduce their risk of asbestos exposure, prosecution and fines. We know that for many people asbestos feels like …

Read More

Sian Stone Dan Crask 2

Acorn employees put best foot forward for charities

You may remember a few weeks ago that we ran a guest blog by our Commercial Manager Sian Stone on her marathon effort to raise funds to tackle the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. Sian set herself the target of raising £200 by running at least 50 miles – or the length of nearly two marathons – …

Read More