What does Brexit mean for the asbestos industry?

What does Brexit mean for the asbestos industry?

Neil Munro Health & Safety

The transition period for Brexit is due to end on 31st December 2020, which means we should be out of the European Union by the beginning of 2021.

No one knows the impact that Brexit will have on the economy when it finally does go ahead, but it is important to think about what it may mean for the asbestos industry.

Now we are in the leaving phase of Brexit, the property market has seen a slump in people investing in buildings and refurbishments. This means that people are potentially sitting on money that otherwise could have been used to solve asbestos problems.

However, leaving the EU could bring some positives with it and may lead the UK to taking back some control on its asbestos laws. We will no longer be governed by what Europe thinks, so what could this mean?

The UK has one of the best health and safety records in the world and has steered European policies on the health and safety front. During these uncertain times, we would like to think that the UK will still maintain this record and be the country that pioneers the way for other countries.

In the UK, if works are carried out, we follow a strict health and safety policy which every business is supposed to adhere to.

Relevant signs should be displayed stating that work is being carried out. For example, if roadworks are being carried out, you will see that there are barriers placed alongside the works to stop pedestrians falling into the gaping hole in the road where it has been dug up, workers wearing eye protection and gloves. However, if you have ever been to somewhere like France or Spain their idea of health and safety is very different to ours and, more often than not, they don’t take the same precautions we do here in the UK.

New rules

There is expected to be new guidance rules after Brexit in relation to asbestos. As business owners in the asbestos industry, we are hoping that this new document will raise the standards across the industry and implement a better way of working. We have seen the way many companies work and it does raise questions surrounding whether they are adhering to the rules or not.

We have seen companies who have worked on several asbestos clearances in a day, which is virtually impossible if you are doing them correctly. If you were working on a tiny flat, you may be able to do two in a day but that really is the maximum, anything above that and you will be cutting corners and not completing paperwork correctly.

It is thought that the new guidelines may increase inspections of clearances by 5%. Due to the UKAS accreditation (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), surveys and re-inspections need to be compliant and do what is stated. If this happens, it will be great news for the industry and will safeguard many clients, as a lot of companies do not re-inspect and only do the bare minimum when it comes to paperwork.

Post Brexit

There are a lot of things that may change after Brexit but at the moment there is a question mark by most things. Clients are holding off working on projects as there is the fear of the unknown.

No one knows what funding will be like post Brexit and businesses don’t know whether they will see cuts or gain more funding. It can be very frustrating, but we need to get to grips with everything and not lose control of standards or expectations.

So, what will the future hold for us as a business and you as clients? If you are holding back, it is important to remember that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on removing asbestos, and there are other ways that you can reduce the risk of being exposed to asbestos.

If you need help or advice, please get in touch with us and we will do all we can to support you and keep you compliant. We do not charge for advice.

Asbestos is our passion, hence why we have been in the business for so long. We enjoy helping people and keeping them safe. We want to help prevent people from being exposed to asbestos and to comply with the rules.

If you would like further information on asbestos and how to remove it safely, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or email info@acorn-as.com.