Local Solicitor Reminds Business Owners That 'Asbestos Is Still An Issue'

A local legal advisor is urging business owners who rent commercial properties to ensure they adhere to strict regulations regarding asbestos, as it still remains a prevalent issue.

Ellen Tranter, a Trainee Solicitor in the Commercial Property department at Shropshire based PCB is issuing the warning following a report that a major high-street retailer could potentially have been putting customers, suppliers and staff at risk of asbestos contamination for up to ten years whilst undertaking store refurbishments.

Although it is now illegal to use asbestos in the construction of any new buildings, it still remains prevalent in many older structures, constituting a significant health risk to those involved in any renovation or refurbishment work. when disturbed or damaged asbestos fibres are released into the air and inhaled, it can lead to many respiratory illnesses, including lung disease, illnesses which account for 3,500 deaths per year in the UK.

In 2012, changes to the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012) came into effect, requiring those responsible for commercial property to abide by a 'duty to manage'. The 'duty to manage' regulation requires property owners to determine whether asbestos is present, to assess the risk, and have a plan in place to manage this risk, with failure to comply with the requirements constituting a criminal offence.

Ellen commented "This report outlines just another example of a large firm with a social and moral responsibility that has breached asbestos removal guidelines and not only put customers at risk, but staff and contractors too. Many people now know the effects of asbestos exposure but some are still not aware if they have been, or are at risk, which is why the 'duty to manage' regulation is so important.

"We advise all our clients when purchasing a commercial property to ensure they ask an appropriately qualified surveyor to carry out an assessment of the premises beforehand, to determine whether asbestos or asbestos-containing materials are present in the property which would be a danger to health should they undertake refurbishment in the future. It is essential business owners are fully aware of the risks of asbestos not only from a legal point of view, but a health and safety one too."

 

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