Asbestos management made easy for retailers

The HSE has teamed up with a retail trade body to produce a ‘quick-reference factsheet’ on abestos for retailers. Its aim is to help those in the retail sector understand their legal responsibilities and ensure their workers, customers or any contractors are protected from exposure.

The regulator joined forces with the independent BHF-BSSA Group, which represents more than 7500 small retailers, to address the low rate of compliance with the duty to manage under regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The resulting factsheet outlines:

who has the duty to manage;
what the duty to manage means;
three essential steps to comply with the duty; and
advice on asbestos surveys.

The HSE’s asbestos programme director, Steve Coldrick, said: “Around 4000 people die each year from past exposure to asbestos. It may be present in any building built before the year 2000, and so it is essential that retailers are aware of the risk it still poses, and their responsibilities in managing it.

“Working with the BHF-BSSA to put in simple terms what businesses should be doing will help remove any mystery or uncertainty around the regulations.”

Michael Weedon of the BHF-BSSA Group added: “Contractors never know what they are walking into when they start work on a job but retailers walk into the same premises day after day after day, so they really need to know what is lurking in their environment.

“Our factsheet sets out to make the subject clear and easy to understand, both for those who own their own premises and those who rent them from others.”

The factsheet is available to BHF-BSSA members at www.bssa.co.uk and on the HSE website.