Asbestos causes a risk to many people and its inappropriate handling in the past is now responsible for 1000s deaths per year.
Asbestos causes a risk to many people and its inappropriate handling in the past is now responsible for 1000s deaths per year. In order to counter further risk, most governments have legislated against the use of asbestos-based products. As many of these products have been incorporated in existing buildings, owners and tenants are also subject to managing the process (see Chapter 11). They are also charged with managing asbestos removal if it is disturbed by subsequent refurbishment or demolition, and with surveying the condition of asbestos in the building on a regular basis and especially prior to refurbishment. Only contractors who have been licensed to safely remove and dispose of hazardous waste in designated tips can remove asbestos. This is an example of a pure risk with mandatory controls, restricting further asbestos-linked deaths. It seeks to protect workers as well as the public. However, removing all asbestos from all buildings is considered to be economically unviable and, in fact, disturbing asbestos in safe condition actually creates a larger risk. Placing responsibility for this risk in the hands of those who are accountable generally encourages a more effective approach that may be more successful than regulation.
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