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Warning to retailers not to put off asbestos survey in stores

UKATA – the UK trade association overseeing standards of asbestos training – has published content on its website produced by an accredited asbestos training company urging retailers to properly check potential asbestos in their stores built before 2000.

The association's warning follows a report by the Asbestos Testing and Consultancy Association (ATaC) that found that 77 per cent of buildings surveyed between October 2021 and March 2022 contained asbestos. 128,000 buildings were survey and more than 700,000 individual items of asbestos were found, with 71 per cent of those posing a significant threat to health because of damage.

According to one of the authors of the story, the UK is in the middle of an asbestos epidemic:

“Asbestos is all around us – in our offices, factories, hospitals, schools and our high streets - and a number of retailers have received hefty fines recently for not managing their duty of care around asbestos management.

“Many of our towns and cities are dominated by units which were built well before the ban on asbestos was introduced in 1999 and it is essential that retailers and landlords check for the presence of asbestos if they are not sure."

Untreated asbestos in shops puts customers and employees at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres that can cause the fatal cancer mesothelioma. A concern of asbestos training companies is that the rising cost of living will deter retailers from paying for an asbestos survey, increasing the risk.

Partner Andrew Morgan confirmed that the industrial disease team has seen an increase in the number of cases it takes on involving exposure to asbestos in a retail setting, as well as in schools and hopsitals.

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