Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for about 150 years on a large commercial scale as fire proofing and insulation. It can also be deadly causing serious lung diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
A quarter of the people now dying from asbestos related diseases have worked in a range of building trades including carpenters, joiners, electricians, shop fitters and plumbers. Exposure to small quantities of asbestos fibres may occur during routine work such as sanding or drilling asbestos materials, and over time these illnesses can develop. Asbestos is the main cause of work related deaths.
If you are responsible for non-domestic premises and/or common parts of domestic premises you have a duty to manage asbestos within those premises.
- Find out whether the premises contains asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what condition it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain asbestos
- Assess the risk from asbestos present in the premises
- Make a plan to manage that risk and act on it
- Provide this information to other employers (such as building contractors) who are likely to disturb any asbestos present, so that they can put in place appropriate controls
Removal or treatment of asbestos
You will need to employ a licensed contractor if the asbestos is high risk, for example pipe insulation and asbestos insulating panels which needs to be sealed, encapsulated or removed.
If the materials are lower risk (such as asbestos cement sheets and roofing) then an unlicensed but competent contractor may carry out this work. Further details on non-licensed work with asbestos is available from the HSE website.
You can dispose of lower risk asbestos at Wyre’s recycling Centre, Fleetwood but you must ensure that the asbestos is properly wrapped before disposal. The recycling centres provide suitable wrapping materials for householders.