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Regulation 4 of the Health & Safety Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002


On the 21st May 2004 Regulation 4 ‘duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises’
was introduced. This extends the legal duty of care to non-domestic property owners and
tenants/occupiers, as well as employers, to ascertain risk to all personnel and
prevent any risk to asbestos materials.
Organisations need to ensure that directors, managers, Health and Safety representatives,
maintenance/engineering staff and all other personnel are aware of the implications of the
enforcement of Regulation 4 of Health and Safety Control of Asbestos at Work 2002,
effective from the 21st May 2004. All organisations are legally obliged to comply with this
new legislation. In the light of this registration, all organisations should strengthen their
arrangements for managing asbestos and eliminating exposure of personnel to asbestos.

Further information is available on the HSE website at : Click Here

Health & Safety
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) indicates that significant exposure risk remains in
approximately 800.000 non-domestic buildings in the UK, A large number of these
buildings incorporate Asbestos roofs, walls, gutters and rainwater pipes.
The HSE confirms that all types of asbestos, including white (chrysotile), are a major
health hazard and can cause cancer. Exposure to asbestos materials is the number one
industrial killer in the UK and is classed as a Category 1 carcinogen. It is the cause of death of
4,700 people per annum, a higher mortality rate than UK road accidents. Asbestos related fatalities
are expected to increase to 10,000 per annum between 2010 and 2020, and many of these people will be unaware that have encountered asbestos.

Currently 25% of asbestos related deaths are maintenance workers including falls through
fragile asbestos roofs.

The HSE indicates that there is no known safe exposure level to asbestos and HSE
non-compliance enforcement and prosecution case are increasing.

Insurance implications
The new regulations require duty holders to undertake investigations of each building
under their control to determine whether asbestos-containing materials (ACM’s) are
present, ascertain the condition they are in, include air testing, provide health and medical
surveillance, assess the risk to personnel, followed by an action plan for any replacement
and/or remedial work that is necessary.

Insurers covering employers and the public liability risks in the UK are reliant upon the
reinsurance market to provide capacity needed to underwrite these risks. Several of the
largest and most influential reinsurers have imposed unequivocal restrictions which
exclude any element of protection from asbestos-related compensation claims from their
cover. This includes not only harmful fibre exposure to building occupants, but also any
pollution risks to the surrounding area.

The insurance industry’s largest disease claims exposure is related to asbestos. The
introduction of new regulations could give to an increase in asbestos-related claims from
mental distress, even if they have no physical sign of asbestos-relate disease.

Asbestos is one of the fastest growing areas of legal action in the USA. The Observer (27th
January 2002) reported that an estimated US total cost, exceeding $200 billion, will be
paid to more than a million people, and that suits will continue for at least another 40

If a work-related injury, illness or death can be shown to be a result of the employers
failure to comply with a statutory duty, then a successful claim for damages will be filed.
Any breach of the new duty to manage ACM’s in a building could be used in this way.
It goes without saying, eliminating asbestos-related risks, is a major UK insurance market

For more information please email: or call 0161 438 72 51