Understanding the Importance of Present Day Asbestos Regulations in the UK

The United Kingdom introduced new asbestos regulations in the country in November of the year 2002 and called these new regulations The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 or simply CAWR2002. A couple of years later on and more particularly on 21st May 2004 it became mandatory for all United Kingdom commercial premises to adhere to and comply with the CAWR2002. In other words, it became necessary for the duty holder to have the right asbestos policy in force on their premises.

The upshot of these asbestos regulations was that it meant that all commercial buildings will need to maintain some form of record which should in turn have been compiled by competent persons regarding each material that either contains asbestos or is presumed to be containing asbestos. All these records should be kept in a register called the asbestos register.

However, present asbestos regulations fail to define who the competent person is though it is expected that such a person be someone that has passed the P402 examination that is especially geared toward the purpose of conducting asbestos surveying. Whats more, these regulations are especially designed for the purpose of providing employees and visitors to the premises with required protection against dangers inherent in the presence of asbestos in the workplace.

Though, ever since the eighties, the use of asbestos has been banned in all United Kingdom construction, there are still a number of materials being manufactured as well as used until the year 1999 that could be deemed as being asbestos containing materials. At present, estimates show that in the entire United Kingdom, at least half of all asbestos that was used in the construction of buildings continues to remain thereby posing a continual danger.

Of course, asbestos does not always pose a health danger and in a majority of cases it will not do any harm and so does not need to be removed. Nonetheless, it must be understood that disturbing or damaging of asbestos through an accident or via maintenance can lead to significant health risks. It is to protect people from such dangers that the present asbestos regulations have been introduced.

Even so, despite the ban on use of asbestos in the United Kingdom, deaths related to this material continue to go up and the biggest increase in such deaths seems not to be among those who actually work in the asbestos industry, especially in the period ranging from the years 1899 through till the eighties. Instead, the worst affected are those who work as maintenance workers including electricians and plumbers as well as heating and even telephone engineers.

It must also be understood that there are no real safe limits of asbestos levels and if exposed to this material the consequences can indeed be very dire. This is why companies or anyone else that does not comply with existing asbestos regulations will be severely penalized including having to pay hefty financial fines and perhaps even being jailed and worse can follow.

In the worst case, non compliance can lead to not being able to purchase employers and public liability insurance and even maintenance companies can refuse to work on the premises.