MPs safety group calls for urgent action on asbestos removal

Asbestos lawyers at Leigh Day have added their support to a report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety which calls for the urgent removal of all asbestos from public buildings.

The group says that asbestos dust needs to be eradicated in all public building, including schools, as quickly as possible.

Exposure to asbestos is the only cause of the fatal lung disease mesothelioma. Thousands of people die prematurely in the UK each year as a result of asbestos exposure.

Materials that contain asbestos are estimated to be present in many thousands of non-domestic buildings.

MPs are recommending that legislation should be introduced which sets out a timetable for the eradication of asbestos in every workplace in the UK.  It is also calling for a national programme of asbestos surveys and all home-buyers’ surveys to include reports on asbestos.

The report, The asbestos crisis: Why Britain needs an eradication law, makes a number of recommendations:

  • For all commercial, rented domestic premises, and public buildings to register the results of a survey indicating whether material containing asbestos is present, and the condition of such material.  This should be completed no later than 2022.       
  • Where asbestos is found in premises any repair or refurbishment work done near the asbestos containing material should include its removal, or a plan made for its removal no later than 2035. In schools and other educational establishments this should be carried out by 2028.
  • Enforcing agencies such as the Health and Safety Executive must develop a workplace inspection regime to ensure that asbestos containing material is identified and managed, and that plans are in place for its safe removal.
  • House sale surveys should identify the presence of asbestos, and this information should be passed to any contractors working on the house.           

Asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer at Leigh Day, Harminder Bains, has represented hundreds of people who have been exposed to asbestos in their workplaces, including schools and colleges.  She says:

“I am pleased to add my support to the recommendations of the report produced by the All Party Group.  Thousands of people are exposed to the risk of asbestos every day in the UK.

“The Government should do everything possible to hasten the eradication of this toxic material, exposure to which results in many families mourning the loss of their loved ones.

“However it is disappointing that the timetable proposed in the report will not protect people being exposed to asbestos today, including children in schools”.