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December 2002

Asbestos: HSE launches guidance on new UK legislation on managing asbestos

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published important guidance to support the new duty to manage asbestos, as part of its strategy to prevent people dying from asbestos-related diseases.

The new duty, part of the Control of Asbestos At Work Regulations 2002 (CAWR), will require those with responsibilities for the repair and maintenance of non-domestic premises to find out if there are, or may be, asbestos-containing materials within them. It also requires them to record the location and condition of such materials, and then assess and manage any risk from them, including passing on information about their location and condition to anyone liable to disturb them.

There could be as many as 500,000 non-domestic premises in the UK that contain asbestos materials. Assessing the risks from those materials and putting in place systems to manage that risk will therefore take time, so there is an eighteen-month lead in period for the duty. However, HSE want people to start work on this important task now. Nick Brown, the Minister with responsibility for health and safety, said: "Asbestos is the most serious occupational health problem, in terms of fatal disease, that the country faces. In the 30 years between 1968 and 1998, 50,000 people died in the UK from asbestos related diseases. The human suffering and misery behind those terrible figures continue today.

There is no medical intervention for those already exposed. But we can certainly do much to prevent exposures today and prevent painful and prolonged illness and death in the future.

"If current levels of exposure are allowed to continue over the next 50 years, nearly 5,000 people will die from asbestos related diseases. These regulations should go a long way towards preventing this human suffering and misery." To raise awareness of the duty to manage, and to promote effective compliance, HSE has published the following guidance material: A new Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) has been produced to support regulation 4 of CAWR. The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises L127 gives advice on how to comply with the new legal requirements and explains the duties of building owners, tenants and anyone else with legal responsibilities for non-domestic premises. It highlights the flexibility of the new regulations to cover a range of situations and to allow a proportionate approach to be taken to managing the risks from asbestos.

The free leaflet Managing asbestos in premises INDG223 has been updated and retitled A short guide to managing asbestos in premises. Aimed at those with smaller, less complex premises, it provides background information on why asbestos can be a risk to health, and where it is found, and gives basic, practical advice on managing the risks from asbestos in premises. The new guidance booklet A comprehensive guide to managing asbestos HSG227 is aimed at those dutyholders in more complex organisations and expands on the guidance given in the free leaflet. The guidance helps dutyholders decide what immediate steps they need to take to manage asbestos on their premises as well as giving advice on developing a management strategy to ensure full compliance with the new duty. The guidance is illustrated by the use of case studies and worked examples. Copies of:

Available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA UK, Tel: +44 (0)1787-881165 or fax: +44 (0)1787-313995.

The International Working at Height Handbook

Describes and explains the principles of modern personal fall protection techniques and equipment. In doing so it aims to promote a more confident attitude amongst both management and workforce to the use of these techniques and equipment as part of an everyday safe system of work.

Valuable for all involved in construction, maintenance, inspection, rescue and many other areas of industrial activity where working at height is an issue.

The 2002 edition of the International Working at Height Handbook is now available from Technical Standards Services Ltd. Sponsored by IRATA - Industrial Rope Access Trade Association. Price: £20.00 (GB Pounds) or $31.00 (US Dollars) or 31.00 Euro.

Working at Height is part of the "Safety Awareness Collection" which also covers Rigging and Lifting, Crane Operations and Cargo Handling, Manual Handling, Falls and Falling Objects and Injuries to Fingers and Hands. Details of the Safety Awareness Collection, including pocketbooks, risk assessment cards, videos, posters and teaching documents.

An online ordering facility with secure server plus full ordering information is provided on this web site. Ordering information, for both online and offline ordering, includes details of postage charges and an order form for you to fax, post or email if you do not wish to order online.

Alternatively, contact Technical Standards Services Ltd., 3 Bury Mead Road, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 1RT, England | Telephone: +44 1462 453211 | Fax: +44 1462 457714 | Email:

The World of Work

The latest edition of the World of Work magazine from the ILO features:

World of Work is available in Chinese, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German. Hindi, Hungarian. Japanese. Norwegian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish

Contact: ILO World of Work Magazine
Department of Communication, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 799 7912
Fax: +41 22 799 8577

New Regulations to Protect workers from Fire and Explosion come into force

New regulations to control fire and explosion risks from dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres came into force in the UK on 9 December 2002. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) will implement the requirements of two European Union Directives: the safety requirements of the Chemical Agents Directive (CAD); and the requirements of the Explosive Atmospheres Directive (ATEX 137).

DSEAR will apply to all dangerous substances at nearly every business in the UK. It sets minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres.

A free leaflet, Fire And Explosion. How Safe is Your Workplace: A short guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations, to assist small and medium-sized businesses has been published today. A web page for DSEAR, containing guidance on the new regulations, can be found at:

DSEAR will also be supported by interpretative guidance and Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) material, to be published next year. The main requirements of DSEAR are that employers and the self-employed must: carry out an assessment of the fire and explosion risks of any work activities involving dangerous substances; provide measures to eliminate, or reduce as far as is reasonably practicable, the identified fire and explosion risks; apply measures, so far as is reasonably practicable, to control risks and to mitigate the detrimental effects of a fire or explosion; provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies; provide employees with information and precautionary training.

Additionally, from 30 June 2003, where explosive atmospheres may occur: the workplaces should be classified into hazardous and non-hazardous places; and any hazardous places classified into zones on the basis of the frequency and duration of an explosive atmosphere, and where necessary marked with a sign; equipment in classified zones should be safe and satisfy the requirements of the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres 1996; and, the workplaces should be verified as meeting the requirements of DSEAR, by a competent person. DSEAR will provide a modern framework for managing the risks of fire and explosions and will enable around 20 pieces of old legislation to be repealed or modernised. This will provide benefits for employers who will in future have significantly less legislation to consider. DSEAR does not contain requirements that are fundamentally new; employers currently meeting existing legislation should therefore notice no significant change.

Copies of Fire And Explosion - How Safe is Your Workplace: A short guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses are available from HSE Books; PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787-881165 or fax: 01787-313995. Single copies will be free of charge. The leaflet can be downloaded free from HSE's website:

The Statutory Instruments: "The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002" (S.I. 2002/2776) is available from:

Safety should not be a barrier to disabled workers

Workplace health and safety risks should never be used as an excuse for not employing disabled people, according to a TUC briefing recently launched 'Disability and safety working together' sets out how union members and reps can ensure workplace health and safety policies and assessments do not discriminate against disabled people.

Despite the legal protection of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, measures designed to protect staff from harm are often wrongly used in a way that discriminates against disabled people and excludes them from the workplace. Health and safety law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to remove workplace health risks for a disabled staff member, rather than simply remove or exclude the staff member.

The TUC briefing includes examples of disability discrimination in the workplace on safety grounds:

The Health and Safety Commission and the Disability Rights Commission held a conference on Thursday, 12 December 2002 on how health and safety laws are used to discriminate against disabled people.

All TUC press releases can be found at
Other enquiries: Owen Tudor, TUC health and safety specialist, on 07788 715261 or Email:

Fire Worldwide - Free 30 day trial

FIRE Worldwide, published by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd., using the powerful SilverPlatter software is available for standalone use on CD-ROM or is accessible via Internet.

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To take a free 30-day trial of Fire Worldwide - either via the Internet or on CD-ROM, please contact Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd | Tel: +44 (0)1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0)1909 772829 | Email:

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Titles you must not miss...

Fire Protection Association Catalogue 2003

This new 40 page catalogue of authoritative videos, DVDs, books, CD-ROMS, Leaflets, Recommendations and Reports are listed in the new 2003 Catalogue. New titles include videos and DVDs:

Books include:

This new 40 page 2003 catalogue is available from:
Fire Prevention Association, 2 Bastille Court, Paris Gardens, London SE1 8ND, UK | Tel: +44 (0)20 7902 5300 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7902 5301 | email: |

Bullying and Harassment Prevention - A Management Guide

The publishers of the Health and Safety Review have just launched a new guide to offer Irish readers a concise document with the necessary information to comply with the three codes of practice on workplace bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. Readers outside Ireland may also find the Guide a useful source of information.

To order this guide @ 35euro each send your request with a cheque or credit card details to IRN Publishing, 121/123 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland
Contact: Orla McAleer - Tel: +353 1 497 2711.