ABS promise to help eradicate the risk of Asbestos exposure by working with our clients to ensure compliance across all sectors and increase training provision to those likely to be at risk from asbestos fibre release.
By providing pragmatic expert advice, and top-quality asbestos surveying/consultancy services, our goal is to make asbestos related lung disease a thing of the past.
Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring silicate mineral fibres that were widely used across the UK until 1999.
The three most common types are Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite; also known as ‘White’, ‘Brown’ and ‘Blue’ respectively.
Asbestos comes from mines in countries such as Canada, South Africa, Australia and Cyprus. While no asbestos was mined in the UK, over 6 Million tonnes of it was imported for use in over 18,000 products.
5 out of the 6 fibrous types (amphibole asbestos) of asbestos were banned 1985, with Chrysotile (serpentine asbestos or ‘White asbestos’) being banned in 1999.
Asbestos is still the highest workplace killer in the UK, accounting for over 5,000 deaths per year – more people than are killed in road traffic accidents. Due to the latency period between exposure and the onset of asbestos related disease, it is estimated that this figure will remain at a similar level for approximately the next 10 years before starting to slowly decline.
However, when asbestos is in good condition/sealed, there is no health risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres – the danger occurs when an asbestos containing material (ACM) is damaged or removed unsafely and airborne asbestos fibres are released. This is why the safe identification and management of asbestos within properties is of key importance.
While some asbestos containing products are more likely to release fibres than others and are therefore more dangerous, it is the product type that defines the level of danger (e.g. Asbestos Vinyl Floor Tiles, if disturbed, will release significantly less fibres than Asbestos Pipe Insulation).
All types, or colours, of asbestos are Group One Carcinogens.
Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause several conditions, but the three most well known and most problematic are asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
See our interactive walk-through of where asbestos can be found here.
Managing Asbestos Risk
The first step would be to identify if the product is indeed asbestos. This can be confirmed through a simple, and relatively inexpensive, sampling exercise to the suspect areas.
Samples will be taken by a competent surveyor and sent to a UKAS accredited laboratory for analysis.
If positive, there are typically a range of options on how to manage or remove any asbestos risk depending on the product and asbestos type.
Call our team on 01355 222525 for further information.
The first step would be to identify all areas of asbestos within the building, typically through an Asbestos Management Survey.
Following completion of this survey, the Asbestos Management Report will contain an Asbestos Register that will highlight all identified or presumed asbestos within the property, and the risk profile associated with each item. This can then be used to develop an Asbestos Management Plan to allow the Duty holder to protect those in or around the property and prevent any potential exposure.
Depending on the size of the property and hierarchy on responsibility, the Asbestos Management Plan will also highlight emergency procedures, key roles/responsibilities, and approved suppliers to be used in the future management of identified asbestos.
Those most at risk of asbestos exposure are typically involved in refurbishment, maintenance and other similar trades (e.g. builders, plumbers, electricians, cable installers, heating engineers, demolition workers, joiners, roofing contractors and architects or building surveyors).
However it is estimated that trade exposure accounts for only 25% of current death rates, therefore people are also clearly being exposed in places of residence, work or through those they live with.
Stop what you are doing. Slowly leave the area of potential contamination and restrict access to others. Go to a muster-point outside and notify your employer.
Call our office on 01355 222525 for bespoke advice for every situation.
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