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The Dangers When Buying A Second Hand Safe

HSA Legislation & Enforcement Notice On Safes:

If you are offered a safe that has no certification badge or that is marked as having been manufactured before the year 2000 (Asbestos ban in Ireland) the person offering you the safe is quite likely breaking the law unless they have proof from the manufacturer that the unit in question does not contain asbestos.

Due to the huge numbers of second hand safes for sale in Ireland that are not only missing parts and may have been previously damaged, but may also contain asbestos, the Health And Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) issued a Legislation & Enforcement notice entitled “Asbestos Risks In Safes And Fire-Resistant Cabinets” on the 21st of October 2019.

This Legislation & Enforcement notice covers all safes, fire cabinets or vaults manufactured before the year 2000.

The new HSA notice states:

  • The EU-wide ban on the marketing and sale of asbestos-containing products applies to second-hand or refurbished safes and cabinets that contain or are presumed to contain asbestos.”

  • Where the asbestos-free status of a pre-2000 safe or cabinet cannot be established or is uncertain, it must be presumed to contain asbestos.”

pdf download HSA Enforcement Notice

This of course includes hundreds of pre-2000 safes listed on the Association Of Insurance Surveyors UK (AIS) list that have been promoted as “appropriate for use in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Eire“. (AIS list 2015 - verbatim quote)

The AIS list, regardless of its intention, is the main go-to document for those involved in this illegal trade in the Republic of Ireland as it claims to provide "appropriate" insurance rates for untested, uncertified safes many of which were manufactured during a time when asbestos use was common in safe production.

A particularly misleading aspect of the list is that it will refer to the seller of the safes listed as the "manufacturer" in all cases, when in many instances the entity being referred to is in fact a re-seller or trader in safes.

The easiest way to avoid the risk of asbestos exposure and defective equipment entirely is to ensure that the safe you are buying was manufactured after 2000, is from a reputable source and has been properly certified by an accredited certification body.

LPCB is not an accredited certification body. LPCB (UK) is a U.K. body which is part of the BRE but this body is not accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 to certify safes.

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