The Health and Safety Executive has released new guidance on how maintenance work involving asbestos can be carried out safely.
Two booklets have been launched. The first, Introduction to Asbestos Essentials, is aimed at anyone who supervises or carries out maintenance work on buildings containing asbestos.

It provides a step-by-step guide to the nature of the material, the effects of exposure, legal requirements, gauging risk and site procedures and training.

The second, Asbestos Essentials Task Manual, is aimed at workers and provides assistance to those likely to come into contact with asbestos.

Although the use of asbestos is banned, 750 workers a year die from asbestos-related ailments, which has prompted the guidance.

Bob Blackman, T&G national secretary, welcomed the launch, saying that as old buildings were refurbished or demolished, more workers would come into contact with the deadly substance.

He said: "It is a tragedy for all those already exposed but we are trying to prevent a second wave of exposure. This guidance will be crucial in preventing more deaths." Last week, at the TUC-organised workers' memorial event in London, Bill Callaghan, chairman of the Health and Safety Executive's commission, said the HSC regards the problem of asbestos as one of its highest priorities.