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

You need to think carefully about asbestos

Asbestos: Think carefully before signing on the dotted line

A BUILDER who lied to his customers about his asbestos industry credentials has been forced to pay back the thousands of pounds. According to the Environment Agency, Lee Charles used false paperwork to convince customers he was legitimate and had the qualifications necessary to remove asbestos and store it safely. In reality, Charles had no … Read more

Asbestos surveyor

Unveiling the Hidden Dangers: How Hiring a Professional Asbestos Surveyor Could Save Your Business and Property

Could your business be at risk from an invisible threat, hidden within the very structure of your buildings? Understanding the importance of a professional asbestos surveyor could be key to preserving your business operations and the integrity of your properties. Uncovering the hidden dangers of asbestos can protect your employees’ health, save significant costs in … Read more

inexperienced asbestos consultants (Medium)

The Rise of Inexperienced Asbestos Consultants: A Growing Concern

The asbestos industry is facing an alarming issue with the rise of inexperienced asbestos consultants. These individuals, lacking proper accreditation and expertise, are entering the market with only basic P402 qualifications. In this article, we aim to highlight the potential risks and consequences associated with this concerning trend. Understanding P402 Qualification The BOHS P402 qualification, … Read more

The Houses of Parliament are 'riddled' with asbestos

Asbestos: Living with the legacy of the past

THERE is so much asbestos in the Houses of Parliament it would take 300 people two-and-a-half years to remove it completely. That’s the view of members of the Public Accounts Committee who fear that the Parliament buildings are at risk of crumbling unless swift action is taken. In older buildings, asbestos is a common problem … Read more

Mesothelioma - celebrating the work of nurses

Mesothelioma: Celebrating the work of Mesothelioma UK’s nurses

IF you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that mesothelioma – the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres – is a cause close to all our hearts. Over the years, we’ve worked closely with Mesothelioma UK, the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting people living with mesothelioma and their families, … Read more

Let your career in the asbestos industry grow with Acorn

Let your career in the asbestos industry grow with Acorn

GIVING young people the opportunities they need to build successful careers in asbestos and health and safety is a big part of the work we do here at Acorn Analytical Services. Having all started off as apprentices and learnt our trade over many years, we pride ourselves on providing the right environment where the next … Read more

Here for you on Safety and Health at Work Day and every day

Here for you on Safety and Health at Work Day – and every day

ASBESTOS is one of the biggest health and safety hazards in the UK contributing to 2,700 deaths from mesothelioma every year. To mark Safety and Health at Work Day we wanted to highlight the range of services Acorn Analytical Services provides to help protect yourself and those around you from his hidden killer. We’ll also … Read more

Asbestos is dominating the headlines once again

Asbestos – silent killer dominating national headlines once again

ASBESTOS has once again dominated the headlines this weekend with The Sunday Times focussing on the stories of real people who have been affected by this hidden killer. Research shows there could be as much as six million tonnes of asbestos contained within 1.5 million buildings in the UK – including 90% of hospitals and … Read more

Construction workers are at a much greater risk of being exposed to the dangers of asbestos

‘Asbestos awareness is crucial for everyone involved in the construction industry’

IF you work in the construction industry chances are you will come into contact with asbestos – perhaps without even realising it. With hundreds of thousands of buildings in the UK still believed to contain this highly dangerous material, even something as simple as drilling a hole could leave you vulnerable to exposure, and at … Read more

Mesothelioma can affect anyone of any age

Raising awareness of mesothelioma – a deadly cancer which kills 2,500 people every year

AS Global Asbestos Awareness Week draws to a close, we felt it was important to shine a light on the work of Mesothlioma UK, a charity which is close to all our hearts. For many years, Acorn Analytical Services has been very proud to support the work of this amazing charity which supports people living … Read more