The Urgent Need for a National Asbestos Register for Non-Domestic Premises
Posted: 14th Sep 23 3:00 PM
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, has long been recognised as a deadly threat to human health. In the United Kingdom, asbestos was extensively used in buildings from the 1950s to the 1980s, leading to a pervasive and hidden danger in non-domestic premises across the country.
Conservative MP Andrew Percy recently tabled a motion in the House of Commons, highlighting the pressing need for a national asbestos register for non-domestic premises. In this blog, we, at The National Asbestos Helpline, delve into the critical issues surrounding asbestos and the proposed solution to mitigate its hazards.
You can read the transcript of Andrew Percy’s motion here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-09-13/debates/8DF57B01-D469-41FC-850E-F04F3EB38754/Asbestos(NationalRegister)
The Scale of the Problem
The health risks associated with asbestos exposure are both severe and extensive. Asbestos is a leading cause of work-related deaths in the UK, responsible for over 5,000 asbestos-related cancer deaths annually, with half of them attributed to mesothelioma. Shockingly, this deadly material can be found in between 210,000 and 400,000 buildings in the UK, including schools, hospitals, and workplaces, according to the Health and Safety Executive. The magnitude of the issue is staggering, and it demands immediate attention.
One alarming aspect of the asbestos problem is that it is not limited to individuals who directly installed, fitted, or handled asbestos materials. Workers in buildings containing asbestos, such as teachers and hospital staff, are increasingly falling victim to asbestos-related diseases. In fact, teachers are more likely to die from mesothelioma than the general public.
A 2019 government survey revealed that 80.9% of participating schools in the UK had asbestos on their premises, exposing both staff and students to potential risks.
Existing Regulations and Their Shortcomings
The UK government has taken steps to address the asbestos issue, including bans on import, use, manufacture, and supply. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 provides a framework for managing asbestos in non-domestic premises. While these regulations are commendable, they have not proven sufficient to curb the rising cases of asbestos-related diseases, particularly among those working in buildings with asbestos.
The Case for a National Asbestos Register
MP Andrew Percy’s motion to introduce a national register of asbestos in non-domestic premises offers a promising solution to this ongoing crisis. The UK National Asbestos Register, a social enterprise, has identified several common failings in the current system, including communication failures, poor data presentation, outdated information, lack of compliance evidence, and inconsistent data formats. A national register would address these issues by centralising and standardising data, making it easily accessible to duty holders and the public.
Benefits of a National Register
A national asbestos register would have far-reaching benefits. It would streamline the management of asbestos, making it easier for duty holders to maintain accurate information about asbestos in their buildings. Additionally, it would raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and support better treatment and care for affected individuals. Moreover, such a register would enable the Health and Safety Executive to target and improve enforcement efforts, ensuring safer workplaces.
Jan Garvey, Case Manager at The National Asbestos Helpline, says: “We receive many calls from people concerned that they are working in buildings containing asbestos and the effects it could have on their health. We have assisted teachers, hospital staff, and others who have worked in non-domestic properties in the past who have gone on to develop asbestos illnesses years later. This problem is still a real threat today and the Bill will assist greatly in keeping people safe from this toxic material.”
The asbestos problem in non-domestic premises in the UK is a ticking time bomb, with severe health consequences for those exposed. The proposal for a national register of asbestos in non-domestic premises, as put forth by MP Andrew Percy, represents a critical step towards addressing this issue comprehensively and proactively. We fully support this initiative, and we urge lawmakers and the Government to take swift action to protect the health and well-being of all individuals who may be at risk of asbestos exposure.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease or harbours concerns about potential exposure to asbestos through past work, we strongly encourage you to take action immediately. Your health and well-being are of paramount importance, and there is support available to guide you through this challenging journey.
We urge you to reach out to the National Asbestos Helpline, a dedicated resource committed to providing assistance, guidance, and essential information to individuals affected by asbestos-related diseases. Our team of experts specialises in understanding the intricacies of asbestos-related illnesses and can provide invaluable support.
Here’s what the National Asbestos Helpline can offer you:
- Expert Guidance: The helpline is staffed with knowledgeable professionals who can answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with the information you need to navigate your situation.
- Access to Legal Advice: If you believe your asbestos exposure occurred due to negligence or unsafe working conditions, we can connect you with legal experts at Alderstone Solicitors, who specialise in asbestos-related compensation claims.
- Emotional Support: Dealing with an asbestos-related diagnosis can be emotionally taxing. The National Asbestos Helpline offers a sympathetic ear and resources to help you cope with the emotional toll of your situation.
- Information and Resources: Stay informed about the latest developments in asbestos-related diseases and access valuable resources to aid in your understanding and decision-making.
Your health matters, and taking action now is crucial. Contact the National Asbestos Helpline today to receive the guidance and support you need to navigate the challenges associated with asbestos exposure. Remember, you don’t have to face this journey alone – help is just a call away.
Contact the National Asbestos Helpline:
Phone: 0800 043 6635
Fill out our contact form: Contact Us Today