The asbestos removal industry is challenged by the HSE to reduce exposure to asbestos at summit next week

The HSE will ask the asbestos removal industry to consider new ways it can reduce exposure to asbestos at a summit next week.

The event will include sessions on management responsibility, organisational improvement, problems of complacency, and organisational and individual vulnerability.

Mike Williams, asbestos licensing principal inspector in HSE’s field operations directorate said: "We are determined to work with the industry, and our objective is to convince them that higher standards to protect health are achievable and needed. We will explore how individual licence holders can make those necessary improvements and hence reduce the number of deaths from asbestos related diseases."

Asbestos-related disease accounts for over 3,500 deaths each year and is the UK’s biggest single cause of work-related deaths. Around 600 arise from work with asbestos in the construction industry and allied trades.

Evidence suggests the number of deaths will begin to reduce from a predicted peak in 2011, but the reduction of incidence is unknown.

The invitation-only summit will be held at Newmarket Racecourse on Wednesday 13 February.