The Health and Safety Executive has published a revised Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) entitled L143 “Managing and working with Asbestos”.
At 116 pages, whilst the revised asbestos ACOP may not be light reading, it is an essential tool for businesses when looking at their risk assessments, policies and procedures. Non compliance with the law on asbestos can be costly. A couple of years ago, I acted for one of the parties in a case in which a business owner was prosecuted for five offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 – he was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay over £9,000 in prosecution costs. The cost of compliance would have been a lot less! In short, not only are there the major health risks but also a prosecution can prove expensive.
ACOPs provide practical “statutory” guidance on complying with health and safety law. If one follows the advice in an ACOP, then that should be enough to comply with the law. The flip side of course is also true (and a breach of an ACOP can be referred to in a health and safety prosecution – so you have been warned!).
The revised ACOP can be found here. It consolidates previous guidance and covers the additional responsibilities introduced by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.