Asbestos – The forgotten killer?

How many small business people realise that asbestos is still putting them and their workers at risk? Has it been forgotten about?

Asbestos is still in many buildings and as such anyone who may disturb asbestos containing materials MUST have training on the dangers and the need to avoid disturbing asbestos containing materials.

What’s the problem?

Working on or near damaged asbestos-containing materials or breathing in high levels of asbestos fibres could increase your chances of getting an asbestos-related disease. The single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK (approximately 4000 deaths per year)

There are four main diseases caused by asbestos: mesothelioma (which is always fatal), lung cancer (almost always fatal), asbestosis (not always fatal, but it can be very debilitating) and diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal).

Blue and Brown asbestor fibers have bards on them

Where can you find asbestos?

  • Common in buildings build before 2000
    • Asbestos cement products [1]
    • Textured coatings[2]
    • Floor tiles, textiles and composites[3]
    • Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns[4]
    • Asbestos insulating board[5]
    • Lagging[6]
    • Loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavity

 

Are you sure that you don’t come in to contact with asbestos?

If you work in any of the following occupations, and are working on a building built or refurbished before 2000, you may come in to contact with asbestos:

  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Carpenters, Joiners and Shop fitters
  • Plumbers
  • Roofing contractors
  • Painters and decorators
  • Plasterers 
  • Construction workers, Demolition workers and Building surveyors
  • Fire and burglar alarm installers
  • Gas fitters
  • Computer installers
  • General maintenance staff e.g. caretakers
  • Telecommunications engineers and Cable layers
  • Electricians

 

This list does not include all occupations where you may come in to contact with asbestos.

When am I at Risk?

  • You are working on an unfamiliar site
  • The building you are working on was built before the year 2000
  • Asbestos-containing materials were not identified before the job was started
  • Asbestos-containing materials were identified but this information was not passed on by the people in charge to the people doing the work
  • You don’t know how to recognise and work safely with asbestos
  • You know how to work safely with asbestos but you choose to put yourself at risk by not following proper precautions, perhaps to save time or because no one else is following proper procedures

 

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 require people that may come into contact with asbestos containing materials must be trained and supervised properly.

For more information on asbestos awareness training please contact us.