Aviva urges property owner action on asbestos

Article date: 31 March 2010

Aviva is urging property owners to observe safety regulations in the wake of a company being prosecuted for exposing building workers to asbestos.

Commercial property landlord, Frank Bruce and Company, was aware of asbestos in the roof insulation of a building being refurbished in Bristol, but failed to warn the sub-contractors about the asbestos or use a licensed asbestos-removal company to undertake the work.

The company was fined £18,000 for breaching two regulations, including the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006*.

Phil Grace, liability risk manager at Aviva, says: “Despite the fact that asbestos is the single biggest cause of work related deaths**, and has been the focus of a Health and Safety Executive education campaign, it seems that the message still isn’t getting through to some people.

“Property owners, or those with control of the building, must manage the risk of exposure to asbestos and understand what their responsibility is.

“This can be done by checking building records and any previous fire damage, which may have led to refitting parts of the building involving materials containing asbestos. The only positive way to identify asbestos is by using a reputable laboratory to analyse it and, once identified, the location of any asbestos must be clearly marked and steps taken to ensure any risk is managed and that fibres are not released. 

“As the recent prosecution has shown, property owners must inform all tradesmen who are likely to work in a building whether asbestos is present. The location should be sealed and the asbestos removed by a competent, licensed contractor.”

A "Managing Asbestos Risks" course is also available from Aviva Risk Management Solutions which provides information to identify and assess asbestos risks and the skills to develop an ongoing management programme. For information telephone 0500 55 99 77 or e-mail risksolutions@aviva.co.uk


For further information, please contact:
Jon Clements at Staniforth on 0161 919 8022/07872 118364 or Vicki Burn from Aviva’s press office on 01603 684224 / 07800 692909. 

Notes to editors:

* Frank Bruce and Company appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 27 January 2010 and pleaded guilty to breaching reg 14 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, for failing to appoint a CDM-coordinator, or principal contractor. It also pleaded guilty to reg 4(10) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, for failing to adequately plan work with materials containing asbestos.  It was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £6,679 in costs.

** According to HSE www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos

About Aviva
Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers.  Aviva also provides roadside assistance through

RAC.  Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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