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Contractors and their clients have been given a reminder of the extent of their responsibilities under health and safety legislation concerning the removal of asbestos.

Under sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, employees are obliged not just to appoint an Health and Safety Executive-licensed asbestos remover, but also ensure all employees and non-employees on site are protected, Contract Journal reports.

This may involve the provision of personal protection equipment such as face masks to protect individuals from inhaling asbestos dust.

In related news, the inclusion of the phrase 'so far as is reasonably practicable' to describe the responsibility of employers to meet health and safety guidelines has been upheld by the European Court of Justice this week.

The court dismissed a challenge by the European Commission that the measure did not go far enough, a ruling described by health and safety minister Lord McKenzie as a 'victory for common sense'.

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