What is asbestos?
Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.
It is unlikely that you will encounter asbestos in a raw state, instead, asbestos was added during the manufacture of many construction items.
How dangerous is asbestos?
When asbestos containing materials are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air, these minute fibres can be breathed in and cause serious life-threatening illnesses.These illnesses take many years to develop but asbestos still kills approximately 5000 people in the UK every year.
How do you identify asbestos?
Asbestos has been banned in the UK since 2000. If, as an employer, your building pre-dates this you must locate, identify, assess and manage any asbestos containing materials. You may have excellent records detailing all the construction materials, however, if you don’t you will need to appoint a competent person to undertake a survey on your behalf.
What should I do if I come across asbestos in my workplace?
Hopefully, your employer will already have identified the asbestos containing materials in your workplace and if they remain in good condition and are undisturbed they will present no risk to you.
Where asbestos is present your employer should have a management plan setting out the arrangements for ensuring it does not get disturbed during day to day activities or maintenance.
It may be however that you discover a suspicious material that is not included in your management plan. In these circumstances, you should stop work immediately, confirm what it is or assume it is asbestos and carry out a risk assessment.
What are the obligations of employers around protecting their employees from asbestos?
As well as a duty to manage asbestos in the workplace, any employer putting persons to work on asbestos must undertake an assessment of the exposure and put in place suitable control measures to reduce that exposure.
Do I need asbestos training?
Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations states that all persons likely to disturb asbestos during their normal work, or who supervise those employees must have the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely.
Additional training is required for anyone working with asbestos.
If you need more help click here.