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Denmark announces ban on unauthorised asbestos removal

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark announces ban on unauthorised asbestos removal
Illustration photo. Denmark is to regulate asbestos removal work. Photo: Liv Latricia Habel/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Employment Ministry says that demolition of structures which contain asbestos should only be carried out by licensed companies.

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In a statement, the ministry said it was proposing that demolition and removal of all structures which contain asbestos will require authorisation of the company carrying out the work.

This would mean, for example, the private homeowners would not be permitted to remove their own roofing if it contains asbestos.

The intention of the proposal is to prevent inhalation of asbestos dust which can endanger health, the ministry said.

“Even though asbestos has been illegal in Denmark for over 35 years, there are still challenges in the construction and extension sectors. Unfortunately, that can have fatal consequences for individual workers,” Employment Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said in the statement.

“That’s why I’m pleased that we’re now taking a step in the right direction towards and authorisation scheme for asbestos work,” she said.

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“There must be a tangible consequence for companies that don’t follow the rules and let employees work with dangerous asbestos dust without a legally required permit,” she said.

The proposed authorisation scheme would require a company to have a quality control system and an approved trained staff member to be authorised for the work.

Any company that carries out asbestos work without the authorisation would be fined an initial 30,000 kroner, with the amount rising depending on how serious the offence.

The proposal comes from an already-agreed deal on working environments from March 2023, which all parties in parliament agreed to back. The agreement set down a pledge to introduce rules on asbestos removal.

Given it has the full backing of parliament, the proposal’s adoption is a formality and it is expected to take effect on July 1st. Businesses are expected to be given a six-month period to apply for authorisation.

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