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

Rare disease day

Why Rare Diseases Day should be important to everyone

This Sunday, campaigners from around the world will unite their voices under the banner of the 14th annual Rare Diseases Day. This international event is coordinated by Eurordis – the voice of rare disease patients in Europe – every 28 February to raise awareness amongst the public and decisionmakers about rare diseases and their impact …

Read MoreWhy Rare Diseases Day should be important to everyone

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 17

Tragic case reveals another dangerous aspect of asbestos

This month the dangers of asbestos hit the headlines once more but maybe not for the reason you might expect. Anyone who regularly follows our blogs or listens to our podcasts will know how hard we work to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos-related diseases. Sadly, a case which came to court recently showed …

Read MoreTragic case reveals another dangerous aspect of asbestos

Sian Stone running Medium

Acorn’s marathon effort to raise money for Mesothelioma UK

Anyone who is familiar with Acorn Analytical Services will know that we are passionate about educating people so that their health is not put at risk by asbestos. So, we are particularly proud to bring you a guest blog by our Commercial Manager Sian Stone about her efforts this month to raise money for a …

Read MoreAcorn’s marathon effort to raise money for Mesothelioma UK

shutterstock 569747749 1

What can you do to support World Cancer Day?

Did you know that every 4 February for the past 21 years has been World Cancer Day? The international awareness day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness, improve education and push for personal, collective and government action to create a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are …

Read MoreWhat can you do to support World Cancer Day?

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 39

Complacency – an asbestos surveyor’s biggest enemy

Complacency is the asbestos surveyor’s enemy number one. There is lots of training available to make sure surveyors are qualified and they will build up experience before they are let loose on their own because asbestos is such a hazardous substance. You tend to find surveyors aren’t complacent when they first qualify because the work …

Read MoreComplacency – an asbestos surveyor’s biggest enemy

JANshutterstock 1381443422 sml

Weird locations and uses of asbestos

In this blog we’re looking at the weird and wonderful locations and uses of asbestos that we’ve come across. Asbestos was used everywhere and thousands of different materials had asbestos added to them. Kent cigarettes One example that springs to mind is the old American Kent cigarette brand which contained asbestos in their filter. The …

Read MoreWeird locations and uses of asbestos

Joe Gore 6 scaled e1611578307773

Focus on our Birmingham Office lead Joe Gore

Back in November we were thrilled to reveal we had launched a new office in Birmingham which is being expertly led by Asbestos Consultant Joe Gore. Joe has been incredibly busy working on a wide variety of projects across the West Midlands since then but we caught up with him to find out how he …

Read MoreFocus on our Birmingham Office lead Joe Gore

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 55

Why you should use lockdown to deal with your asbestos

So here we are entering a New Year. Traditionally, a time for optimism and new beginnings but this week’s announcement of the latest national lockdown left many businesses reeling. Almost a year on from the first national lockdown you could be forgiven for thinking we’re living through some kind of strange Groundhog Day but the …

Read MoreWhy you should use lockdown to deal with your asbestos

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 36

Don’t fall foul of the law – make sure you get the correct Asbestos Survey

At Acorn Analytical Services we invest a lot of time into making people aware about the dangers of asbestos for two key reasons. One is the human cost – exposure to asbestos can cause life-changing illnesses and incurable cancers – and the second reason is the cost it poses to businesses. It is so important …

Read MoreDon’t fall foul of the law – make sure you get the correct Asbestos Survey

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 28

£2bn Government gold rush could be an asbestos minefield

This autumn, the Government launched a new scheme to promote home insulation. It is subsidising home insulation ventures with grants of up to £5,000 which can be used to install insulation, double glazing, smart controls and more. This is great news for the environment and for the economy however, we do have concerns about it. …

Read More£2bn Government gold rush could be an asbestos minefield