The unexpected discovery of asbestos in the former Aberdeen City Council’s headquarters has slowed its development and more than 1000 staff had to vacate from the building. Thankfully there was no risk to the public despite work continuing on other areas of the site.
This is a timely reminder for all workplaces to ensure that asbestos assessments and audits are carried out and maintained. This is even more so expected and required when it comes to public buildings and spaces.
Karyn McPhee, Litigation Executive from Slater and Gordon’s Chest & Asbestos Disease Group, reiterates this reminder and the concerns of potential exposure to asbestos and the dangers of the material.
“The presence of asbestos in any work environment should be paramount to the health and safety of its staff. Most workplaces should have an asbestos audit and a register should be made available whenever works are undertaken to refurbish working environments.
This is even more important when we are talking about public spaces. Development, refurbishment or renovations of old buildings which form part of the public space need to be managed properly especially if asbestos is found. The public should be made aware of any dangers, especially when it comes to the potential of airborne asbestos dust and fibres which are not visible to the naked eye. Thankfully in this circumstance the danger was reduced by the management of site and the material and those involved should be commended for identifying the risk to the public.”
Anyone exposed to asbestos should register this exposure as soon as possible. Slater and Gordon maintain a National Asbestos Register and you should contact Dominic Smith on 0161 383 3527 to register.
Further, the Health and Safety Executive have a number of resources with regards to the maintenance, removal and disposal of asbestos.