Regarding workplace health and safety hazards, asbestos is among the top ten.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has long been concerned about the impact of asbestos exposure on people’s health. To assist in developing and improving its asbestos management services, the HSE has released three new asbestos surveys. Professionals who work with asbestos are being asked to complete these surveys.
Information gathered from the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys could help to save lives. Once widely used as a building material, asbestos is a highly carcinogenic substance that can cause terminal illnesses if inhaled. Asbestos-related diseases are now the leading cause of work-related death in the UK.
We’ve compiled this quick guide to the latest asbestos surveys to help you understand what they are, why they’ve been issued and why they are so important.
What You Need to Know About the HSE’s 2024 Asbestos Surveys
On 8 January 2024, three new HSE Asbestos Services Surveys were sent out to members of the public. These surveys aim to get feedback from people who work with asbestos. The HSE will then analyse this information and incorporate it into future asbestos management programmes.
The HSE Asbestos Services Surveys resulted from an inquiry by the Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC). The investigation began in 2021 and looked into how effective the HSE was in regulating and managing asbestos. To fulfil the recommendation from the WPSC inquiry, the HSE needs to gather more evidence.
Completing the surveys will help the HSE to answer questions like:
- What are the current risks of asbestos in the workplace?
- What workers are most at risk of asbestos exposure?
- Is the current asbestos management legislation and regulatory framework adequate?
- Are the HSE’s asbestos record-keeping methods acceptable?
- Is the HSE allocating enough resources to asbestos management?
- Is the available data about the risks of asbestos reliable?
- Can the HSE improve how it engages with stakeholders about asbestos regulation?
Who Can Take Part in the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys?
Not just anyone is eligible to complete the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys. You can only participate if you work as a licensed asbestos removal contractor, surveyor, or analyst.
According to the HSE, the asbestos surveys are open to ‘all organisations who are involved in licensed asbestos work, surveying and sample analysis.’
You or your business must provide services to
If that sounds like you, you can participate in an HSE asbestos survey relevant to your business. Click on the links below to find the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys:
Do You Have to Take Part in the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys?
Taking part in the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys is not a legal requirement. Participation is purely voluntary. There are no penalties for not participating. You can also change your mind while completing a survey and withdraw all information you’ve inputted until that point.
Although no one will send you a fine or a nasty legal letter if you don’t fill out a survey, you can help the HSE develop better ways of managing asbestos. And that just might help to save someone’s life.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an HSE Asbestos Survey?
Let’s say you’re interested in participating but worried about how much time it will take out of your day. The HSE realises that many people are pressed for time, so the surveys have been designed to be quick.
It should only take about 20 to 25 minutes to complete a survey, depending on how many questions you answer. The surveys also don’t have to be done in one sitting. You can leave the survey open in your browser and return to it later if you want.
Is Your Data Protected if You Participate in the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys?
The HSE stresses that participants can stay anonymous and that all gathered data is for internal use by the HSE only. Any comments used in reports will be unattributed to protect the participant’s anonymity.
If you like, you can provide your email or other contact details if you’re OK with the HSE contacting you to discuss your responses. But you don’t have to give any contact details if you don’t want to.
The HSE states that all data collected will be stored securely and deleted once the review process has been completed.
What is the Closing Date of the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys?
If you’d like to participate in the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys, it’s best to do it soon. The closing date is 11:45 pm on Sunday, 25 February 2024.
Current Statistics on Asbestos in the UK
Asbestos was a common building material in the UK and was used until 1999. It’s been estimated that 87,000 UK public buildings contain asbestos, including many schools. 80% of NHS buildings in London also contain asbestos.
Asbestos is also commonly found in domestic homes built in the 1970s. Some industry experts state that if your home was built before 2000, there is a risk that it contains asbestos. A recent study by asbestos industry experts found that 16% of domestic dwellings had asbestos, with 44% of those buildings showing signs of damaged asbestos.
When asbestos-containing materials are broken or damaged, they can release fibres. Asbestos fibres cause life-threatening diseases when inhaled or ingested.
More than 5,000 people in the UK lose their lives every year due to asbestos-related diseases, according to the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA).
The HSE describes asbestos as ‘the greatest cause of work-related deaths in Great Britain.’
Completing the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys will help authorities develop better ways of managing the risk of asbestos. You can also take other steps to protect yourself and your employees.
Protect Yourself with Asbestos Awareness Training
Being exposed to asbestos-containing materials can put your health at serious risk. Duty to Manage Asbestos training gives you the knowledge to keep everyone safe.
Asbestos kills. But we can work together to lower the risk and prevent further loss of life.
Sign up for our Duty to Manage Asbestos training course.
Complete the HSE Asbestos Services Surveys.
By doing so, you’ll be helping to create a safer Great Britain for everyone.