Criticism Levelled at the Scottish Government over the Control of Asbestos

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Scotland appears to have experienced a long-term problem when it comes to safe disposal of asbestos, according to a recent news report. The Scottish Express has highlighted the potential problems related to lack of consultation between two health and safety agencies with regard to the safe disposal of asbestos.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for the welfare of demolition workers, with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) taking care of the safe disposal of building waste and rubble. Local councils in Scotland have power over residential demolition, but no authority over industrial buildings, and the fact that the agencies are working separately causes a gap in a potentially dangerous situation.

New homes to be built on old industrial land

The Scottish Government has set a target for 80% of new residential homes to be constructed on former industrial land, and if care is not taken to control the removal of asbestos from these buildings, it could cause serious health issues for residents.

The incident that initially caused concern was when a steelworks in Motherwell was demolished in 2002. The following day residents found asbestos dust lying on their cars, and this lack of care by the demolition company resulted in a £20,000 fine.

Campaigners would like to see a governing body coordinating the work of HSE and SEPA, ensuring that each agency consulted with the other before work commenced.

Asbestos training courses

Another important issue in this debate is the fact that all contractors should undergo the necessary asbestos training, and hold the licenses required by law.

Individual tradespeople are also legally obliged to complete Category A training, which is asbestos awareness. This lets them know when to step back and seek the help of a contractor licensed to safely deal with and remove asbestos.