The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 came into force on 13 November 2006. The revised regulations strengthen overall worker protection by reducing exposure limits and introducing mandatory training for work with asbestos.
They also simplify the regulatory regime and implement revisions to the EU Asbestos Worker Protection Directive.
The revised regulations introduce the following changes:
- single control limit of 0.1 fibres/cm3 of air for work with all types of asbestos
- specific mandatory training requirements for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos
- requirement to analyse the concentration of asbestos in the air with measurements in accordance with the 1997 World Health Organisation recommended method
- practical guidelines for the determination of “sporadic and low intensity exposure” as required by the EU Directive
- replace three existing sets of Asbestos Regulations.
Most work with asbestos will still need to be undertaken by a licensed contractor but any decision on whether particular work is licensable will now be determined by the risk.
To download the full text of the regulations, go to: www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si200627.htm
Prosecution service prosecuted
The High Court has ordered the Crown Prosecution Service to review its decision not to bring corporate manslaughter charges against the employer of a teenager killed in his first week at work.
The Judge ruled that the CPS must reconsider the evidence in the death of 17-year-old Daniel Dennis who fell through a skylight while working for roofing company North Eastern Roofing in April 2003.
The decision, following a Judicial Review brought by the GMB and Thompsons Solicitors, is only the second time in legal history that the CPS has been brought to court in a workplace death case. It exposes the lack of specialism and proactivity in the CPS’s approach to corporate manslaughter.
The Court concluded that the way the CPS interpreted the evidence and its apparent lack of understanding of health and safety law, should be looked at again. The Judge said it is “...seriously arguable that a different decision might be made once account is taken of these matters”.
The employer was aware that Daniel had had no prior safety training, but sent him up scaffolding to access timber on the roof of a B&Q store in Cwmbran, Gwent during a re-cladding project. He was not wearing a harness and the skylight area was not fenced off.
The inquest jury took less than 10 minutes to reach its unlawful killing verdict, although the CPS had told the Dennis family that gross negligence manslaughter charges could not be brought.
Representing the Dennis family, Mick Antoniw, an expert in corporate manslaughter and health and safety law at Thompsons said: “This is a landmark ruling and we now expect the CPS to review and overhaul the way they consider the evidence in cases involving workplace deaths. This case also exposes the desperate need for the new corporate manslaughter laws currently before Parliament.” (See page 11)
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a workplace accident, go to www.thompsons.law for more information.