What is Asbestos?
Asbestos was a widely used material within commercial buildings, homes and machinery until 1999, when it was banned in the UK, therefore it can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000.
Asbestos can be present in many of the common materials used in the building trade such as:
loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavity,
sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams or columns,
asbestos insulating board,
floor tiles, textiles and composites,
asbestos cement products,
rope seals and gaskets.
Why asbestos is dangerous?
When ACMs (Asbestos Containing Materials) are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled. They settle in our lungs and can cause serious diseases such as Mesothelioma, Asbestos – related lung cancer, Asbestosis or Pleural thickening. Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
Who is at risk?
Not only workers involved in refurbishment, maintenance and other similar trades, could be at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, but also people who are nearby work area and those who re-occupy the building after works. These fibres are so small they can remain airborne for days after they were initially disturbed.
Do I need asbestos survey?
The Health & Safety Executive introduced the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 to help reduce the rising death toll from asbestos related diseases. The Control of Asbestos Regulations impose a number of duties on non-domestic property owners.
- carrying out risk assessments;
- making asbestos related records available to just about anyone who has reason to view them.
If there are no planned refurbishment or demolition works, management asbestos survey is required.
Prior any refurbishment or demolition works, a refurbishment/demolition survey is required.
Asbestos materials must be identified and removed prior to refurbishment (if likely to be disturbed) or demolition.
If you don’t have a plan to deal with asbestos and put it in action, you could face a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months. For a serious breach you could face an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years.
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