Asbestos-Related Disease Rates in the UK

31st July 2018

Figures recently released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) predict that there will continue to be around 2,500 deaths attributed to mesothelioma per year for the rest of this current decade, before annual numbers begin to decline.

According to HSE, recent research suggests* that, while still caused by exposure to asbestosAsbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK1.  Asbestos was extensively used in construction materials up until the late 1990s, and is present in a significant number of bu... More, the majority of mesothelioma cases in women (as well as a similar figure among men) are not attributable to occupational asbestos exposure. These figures highlight that these deaths are likely to be attributed to other sources of ‘environmental’ exposure. These may have been largely down to being unknowingly exposed – for example, due to disturbance by others working nearby – rather than due to the direct handling of asbestos containing materials.
These statistics highlight the continued need to focus on preventing people from being put at risk, as although many current cases of the disease usually date back many years, refurbishment and demolition work is still putting contractors and members of the public at risk today. Hence the importance of undertaking surveys in advance and implementing asbestos management plans, following necessary guidelines.

Before commencement of any maintenance, refurbishment or demolition work, it is therefore the responsibility of building owners to first identify if there is any asbestos present in the building as part of their risk assessment. The dutyholders of a non-domestic property have a duty to manage the asbestos within the building and to identify and record the location and condition of any asbestos. The owners also have a duty of care to inform tenants if major works are due to take place.

An asbestos management plan of a property provides any contractors undertaking work with details of the location of asbestos containing materials in the building to ensure that these are not likely to be disturbed during the course of a contractor’s work. The duty to manage and identify asbestos is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 for any property constructed prior to November 1999, when the use of asbestos in the UK was prohibited.

The S2 Partnership’s dedicated team of asbestos consultants assist clients daily with asbestos management plans, processes, surveys and advice, to safeguard the health and safety of individuals. In addition, the RiskWise Asbestos Register provides the easiest solution for managing asbestos information online – providing full visibility of information to contractors and other stakeholders. For further guidance or information, please contact our experienced team.

*HSE – July 2018