Warning over Lack of Plans to Deal with Asbestos in Workplace

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Smale # Assistant Business Editor

ABOUT 83% of businesses in Wales have no plans in place to deal with the risks associated with asbestos in the workplace.

That is that stark finding of a new survey by Cardiff-based insurer Zurich.

Its study also found that only 40% of Welsh companies were aware of the recent changes to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR) 2002, meaning that many firms could be laying themselves open to prosecution.

Under the updated legislation, companies now have a ``duty to manage'' any potential risk - they must be able to prove that they have plans in place to deal with asbestos in the workplace.

Compensation for asbestos-related claims can easily reach the pounds 100,000 mark.

Roger Cottell, managing director of Zurich Risk Services said, ``We are urging businesses in Wales to put plans in place to deal with the risks associated with asbestos in the workplace.

``Good risk management could reduce all the biggest causes for concern that appeared in the survey.''

Asbestos can be found in many different types of products such as boiler installations, pipe lagging, sprayed fireproofing coatings, thermal insulating boards, roof cladding, wall cladding, asbestos-cement boards and panels and vinyl floor coverings.

The amendments to the regulations now extend dutyholders' responsibilities to: # Finding out where, if at all, asbestos is located, how much there is, and what condition it is in; # Keeping an up-to-date record of the above information, in the form of an asbestos register; # Presuming that any ma-terials identified contain asbestos unless strong evidence proves otherwise; # Notifying all parties likely to be exposed to asbestos-related risk; # Preparing, implementing and periodically reviewing a plan to manage asbestos on the premises. …