The recently published Great British Asbestos in Buildings Survey 2011, carried out by the UKAS Accredited Asbestos Industry Group, paints a comprehensive picture of the level of awareness of asbestos in buildings within the built environment industry.

The survey findings demonstrate that some dutyholders and contractors are still not aware of their responsibilities and could be at risk of asbestos exposure. The Survey was completed throughout 2011 by a wide range of professionals representing a range of business sizes and disciplines from across the UK.

Silverdell, the Specialist Environmental Support Services group, supported the survey throughout 2011 with input from Redhills, the consultancy division of Silverdell.

Kieran Moon, commercial director, Redhills commented, “This industry survey has captured an up to date set of responses which demonstrate that although people are more aware of their asbestos management responsibilities, a large number of contractors and dutyholders are still putting themselves at risk from asbestos exposure, with some contractors attending site without receiving adequate information with regards to asbestos containing materials.”

He continued, “Although many of the respondents have received asbestos awareness training, the figures are still concerning for those who have not been properly trained and ultimately remain at risk of exposure to asbestos.”

On 6th April changes to the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012) came into force which could affect up to 730,000 workers in the UK. The biggest change in the regulations affects the current ‘Non-Licensable’ work on asbestos. This category represents the vast majority of all work carried out on asbestos within the UK, affecting some 1.8m workers annually.

The survey results show a clear requirement for appropriate awareness training for many of the industry sector participants. Increased awareness and increased training will prevent unnecessary exposure in the future.