According to statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Every year 1,000 people who have been involved in carrying out building maintenance and repair work die as a result of past exposure to asbestos fibres and it is estimated that half a million commercial buildings still contain asbestos.
If you are responsible for maintenance and repairs of premises covered by the Regulations, you have a duty to manage asbestos if:
- you own the building;
- you are responsible through a contract or tenancy agreement; or
- there is no formal contract or agreement but you have control of the building.
The HSE publishes periodic guidance on managing absbestos risk.
In 2018, a High Court case established that the presence of plural plaques (a common precursor of asbestos-related diseases, but normally asymptomatic and not always followed by the development of mesothelioma or related diseases) could, if accompanied by symptoms related ot the plaques, be sufficient ground to bring a claim for compensation.