A national survey has been launched exploring general awareness and understanding of asbestos in buildings and the regulations designed to protect UK workers from being exposed to asbestos in their workplace.
The survey has been developed in conjunction with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the organisation that currently accredits over 100 inspection bodies to carry out asbestos surveys. It will be promoted across all industries via the UK's leading trade associations and trade unions, membership organisations and industry institutions. Tradesmen, building occupiers, dutyholders, clients and property managers of non-domestic buildings will be encouraged to take the survey.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is responsible for an estimated 4000 deaths each year and is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Results are expected to give an insight into awareness of the 'Duty to Manage Asbestos' and highlight areas for raising awareness of the risks of asbestos in the workplace.
The survey has the backing of high profile asbestos campaigners across the UK. Annette Brooke MP and chair of the Asbestos in Schools Group said: 'This survey is a welcome step in the right direction. It is so vital that we highlight the dangers surrounding asbestos and I hope that participation in this survey is as wide as possible.'
John Richards, managing director of analytical and surveying firm, Thames Laboratories said: 'With recent public sector funding cuts and the Government's review of Health and Safety, we are concerned that this important subject maybe overlooked. Currently in the UK, more people are dying from asbestos exposure than in road accidents and yet our approach to asbestos still ranges from apathy to paranoia. Recent conflicting reports produced from ATAC and HSE, and the issues of low level asbestos exposure, have led to the development of this research project, aimed at establishing what is really happening'.
Jon Murthy, marketing & communications manager at UKAS said: 'This is the first industry initiative of its kind in which UKAS has participated and we hope to see this repeated annually to measure what improvements are happening within the asbestos sector. UKAS will play its role by ensuring the questionnaire is circulated to as many individuals as possible, from all industry sectors, via Unions, Trade Associations, Industry Institutions and Membership Organisations'.
• The survey can be taken here:The Great British Asbestos in Buildings Survey 2011
• The survey results will be published in a report in the summer 2011 via the campaign website www.asbestosinspectionbodies.co.uk
and should highlight the issues arising from the most comprehensive review of the subject to date.