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Asbestos prosecutions have tripled

Asbestos prosecutions have tripled
Prosecutions for Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations have increased three-fold over the last year, it has been revealed.

According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive, there were 37 criminal prosecutions for the offence during 2005/06.

Meanwhile, in 2004/05, there were 12 and in 2003/04 just seven prosecutions were mounted.

The increase in firms and organisations comes after regulations governing responsibility for asbestos was extended through the act, reforms to which were passed in 2002.

Under the terms of workplace regulations, firms deemed responsible for managing asbestos at work now includes all workplaces rather than those that are deemed high-risk such as building sites.

Other changes included the stipulation that firms are responsible for locating materials with asbestos in them and assessing their condition and the risk they pose, and also for having plans in place to manage the risk.

The act was further tightened up last year through the introduction of reduced exposure limits and new asbestos handling training schemes for staff.