Managing and Working With Asbestos
Asbestos, known as the hidden killer, kills 20 tradesmen a week in the UK. Extensively used in the UK building industry between the 1950’s and 1980’s the material has now been banned after medical research connected it to serious diseases.
While asbestos is not dangerous if left in good condition, if it is damaged the fibres are released into the air and if inhaled can potentially cause serious long term health risks. Asbestos related diseases won’t affect you straight away but they can become an issue later in life – this is why it is important to protect against the diseases now to prevent diseases in the long term.
As part of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 the person who has control of maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises have a duty to manage the asbestos found in them. They should provide employees with information regarding the location of the asbestos and what condition it is in. Once you have identified is asbestos is present you can make steps to deal with it.
If it is not possible to avoid the risk of asbestos all together then the person responsible with the duty to manage the character must carry out a risk assessment to clarify who is at risk of exposure, the level of possible exposure and the methods that are necessary to provide effective control of the risks.
If asbestos does not need to be removed and can keep in the premises largely untouched you will not be required to bring in a licensed contractor. It is however, nevertheless necessary to make sure that all employees receive appropriate training before disturbing any asbestos. In this case, where a license is not required by the Health and Safety Executive, asbestos awareness training is the most appropriate.
The training will cover the following topics to fully equip you with the knowledge to work in an ecosystem that may contain asbestos;
– The similarities of asbestos and its effect on health
– The types of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings
– The general procedures to deal with an emergency
– How to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos
It is important that if you work in a building that may contain asbestos that you follow these general guidelines and contact the Health and Safety Executive if you have any more questions http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm.