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Avoid Millions in HSE Fines as IOSH Reveal 1 in 4 Exposed to Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was commonly used in building materials for decades and is responsible for the deaths of 5,000 people each year. 66% of these people have worked in the construction industry, according to the HSE.

What makes the mineral truly dangerous is that its effect can take years or event decades to become obvious, and by then the damage can be nearly irreversible. Unfortunately 23% of UK construction workers say they have been exposed to asbestos, according to a survey from IOSH.

What’s more, the potential for exposure is relatively great, as it can still be found in many buildings built before 2000. Even though it’s so prevalent, 18% of construction workers say that if they found it, they wouldn’t know what to do.

Despite how common exposure can be, teams often don’t take proper precautions. In fact 32% don’t check the asbestos register before beginning a job and 15% don’t even know what the register is.

Bad Planning Could Cost You Millions in Fines

In 2016-17 the HSE prosecuted over 200 cases from the construction sector – much higher than any other sector in the UK. They had a 93% success rate with the prosecutions, which led to over £15 million in penalties. This worked out at an average fine of £77,000, which was an increase of over 100% compared to 2015-16.

To avoid these fines, ask yourself the following six questions:

1: How robust are your risk assessment, management and training procedures?

2: What are your procedures for selecting subcontractors and monitoring their competence?

3: How effective is your record keeping system?

4: What procedure do you have in place to address an incident?

5: How would you respond to an investigation by the police, HSE or another regulatory body?

6: What impact would an incident have on your company’s reputation?

Insurance Support

Our expert construction team offer a carefully balanced combination of risk management and insurance solutions, all designed around the specific needs and budget of each individual client.

Who we cover

Asbestos removal contractors
Asbestos consultants
Transport of asbestos
Waste management companies
Construction firms handling asbestos

What we cover

Asbestos liability
Public and product liability
Professional indemnity
Contracts works insurance
Fleet insurance
Legal expenses insurance

How to Protect From Asbestos

Check the Asbestos Register before carrying out any work. if there is no register or survey or the report is no clear, don’t start work. Instead have the property inspected, or assume that asbestos may be present and organise control methods to reduce exposure.

Provide workers with appropriate health and safety training.

Provide staff with personal protective equipment, such as disposable overalls, type 5 disposable gloves, laceless boots and respiratory equipment.

If you’d like some free, no obligation advice contact our Belfast, Armagh or Coleraine teams.

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