11/03/2011

Asbestos Dangers In Focus

There's an increased effort underway to improve safety industry standards when dealing with asbestos.

Asbestos remains the most serious occupational health issue in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK due to its widespread use. It may be present in any building built before the year 2000, so it is essential that those with duties under health and safety law are aware of the risk it poses.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), has just held a seminar on the proper management of asbestos which it said would help prevent people dying from asbestos diseases in the future.

Already, in the last four years there have been over 300 asbestos-related deaths in Northern Ireland, with this number expected to rise.

Only by preventing or minimising exposure to asbestos will asbestos related diseases eventually be reduced.
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Welcoming the seminar, Professor Peter McKie HSENI Chairman said: "Asbestos is an unforgiving substance that can, even for short periods of exposure, result in death and debilitating lung disease. That is why only the most stringent precautions must apply when it is encountered and disturbed.

"It is therefore immensely encouraging to see such a positive response to the seminar from the asbestos removal contractors in Northern Ireland. I know that this sector is committed to the highest standards and like us objects strongly to those who flout the rules."

Some of the topics covered at the seminar included a review of the recent asbestos duty to manage initiative, asbestos surveys, licensing and appeals, and an analyst’s viewpoint on clearance.

Commenting on the seminar, licensed asbestos removal contractor, Suzanne Eastwood of Eastwood Limited said: "These seminars are very important for everyone to recognise the dangers of asbestos and the importance of good planning. The asbestos removal industry would support HSENI's view that the work in this industry must be carried out

to the very highest standards. Attention to detail is key when dealing with asbestos risks. A competent and professional approach is the only way forward."

(GK)

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