60% of Cambridge businesses targeted in asbestos crackdown

April 25 2009

Businesses that rent premises in Cambridge are being warned to make sure they are meeting strict asbestos laws – ahead of a new crackdown.

The law states that any business that is responsible for the maintenance of a building must know if there is any dangerous asbestos present, according to asbestos removal experts Kershaw Contracting Services.

A recent survey by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Institute for Employment Studies discovered three in five businesses – 60 per cent – aren’t aware of their responsibilities.

And that’s triggered a new crackdown, with inspectors targeting businesses this year and next.

“Even if a business rents a building; if it maintains it is it responsible for three things,” explained asbestos expert Tim Peters from Kershaw Contracting Services.

“First it must know if there is any asbestos in their building, and if so where it is and what condition it is in.

“Second it must have a plan to manage the asbestos, and third that plan must be in action.

“These are actually simple things to do, but with three out of five businesses not doing them, they are leaving themselves open to legal action.”

Asbestos was widely used as a building material in the UK up until the 1970s for its insulating and fireproofing properties.

Conservative estimates say there is still more than a million tonnes of it present in buildings.

Asbestos is not dangerous until it is disturbed. But if damaged the fibres are easily breathed in, and can lead to cancers of the lungs and chest lining.

Kershaw Contracting Services undertakes asbestos surveys and licensed removal, and is a division of the Cambridge-based Kershaw Group.

It was recently rewarded for its long-term commitment to excellent health and safety by being accepted into the exclusive SAFEcontractor programme.

Parts of the Kershaw Group have a history stretching back 120 years. It employs 183 people and is well known for its involvement in the community.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information or to arrange interviews with Kershaw Contracting Services, please contact Zoe Coll on 08452 303049, or email press@publicityheaven.com