Companies whose staff work with asbestos need to ensure their employees have access to "information, instruction and training supervision".

That is according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), a registered charity that campaigns for change.

Commenting on the issue, Roger Bibbings, occupational safety manager for ROSPA, said that there is "a duty of the employer" to provide its workforce with the appropriate information.

Mr Bibbings said: "The critical question is how do you build it into not only training of the workforce, but also training of managers and line managers, so that it gets a leadership approach?

"It goes back to the way health and safety is being managed within the company itself."

He explained that work which involves asbestos needs to be carried out by "trained trades people" or failing that "licensed contractors".

The Health and Safety Executive began a campaign – Asbestos: The Hidden Killer – in October 2008 to warn companies of the dangers involved in working with asbestos.