28/11/2001

Asbestos scheme aims to ‘keep killer at bay’

With an estimated 3,000 people dying each year from asbestos-related diseases, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, has developed a new scheme designed to accredit competent inspection bodies to safeguard the accuracy of asbestos surveys.

While it is illegal to use asbestos, it still exists in many buildings, posing a health risk to anyone who comes into contact with the carcinogenic substance.

A pilot assessment scheme commenced in April 2000, with 40 applicant companies from throughout the UK attending a seminar at the start of this year, followed by UKAS assessment in February. When the companies complete the scheme in December, building owners will then be able to use such firms to consistently determine an accurate level of risk from asbestos in buildings.

The UK Minister for Local Government and the Regions, Nick Raynsford, commented: “It is important that employers who hire an organisation to undertake an asbestos survey can be confident that they are competent to undertake the work. This initiative is an important part of the drive to ensure that the risks from asbestos in buildings are properly controlled.”

UKAS is the sole body recognised by the Government for the accreditation, against international standards, of organisations that provide inspection, certification, testing and calibration services. (CL)

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