The Dangers of Asbestos

14 December 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

It's a haunting name from the past, but asbestos is still around and is still a major worry in modern times. Thousands of workers are still affected by asbestos every year. Understanding asbestos removal can help you and others stay safe.

Where asbestos is found

Asbestos can be found in a multitude of materials; these can include many different tiles including vinyl floor tiles and ceiling tiles, wallboard, roofing, insulation board and many more. If these fibres are disturbed and released into the air, they can cause serious diseases. These are not instantaneous and instead develop over time. In many cases, by the time they are found it can be too late. This is why it is important to deal with the problem now as asbestos can cause so many issues.

These include:

  • Mesothelioma - This is a type of cancer which effects lung lining and is exclusive to asbestos inhalation, and it's nearly always fatal.

  • Asbestosis - This is where scarring occurs on the lungs caused by prolonged exposure over many years to asbestos, usually in the workplace, and this causes shortness of breath but only in severe cases is it fatal.

  • Pleural thickening - This is when the lung lining thickens, causing discomfort and tightness in the chest.

  • Lung cancer - As asbestos fibres are breathed in, multiple types of cancer can develop.

How to eradicate asbestos

That's all a bit scary, but the good news is that steps have already been taken to deal with asbestos. It is illegal to use asbestos in any build as the supply was banned in the year 2000. If you are working in a building that was built or refurbished before then, there are clear steps to undertake to manage this safely.

Firstly, you must identify if there is asbestos present. Before any work is undertaken this is the first task which needs to be done. Hopefully these initial tests will come back negative, but if asbestos is, or may be, present, then a risk assessment will have to take place, deciding if the work is possible to carry out and determining the level of risk to everyone on sight. This risk assessment will also decide if the level of asbestos requires a licensed contractor for its removal to undertake the work or not. If the work does not require a licensed contractor anyone working upon the removal of asbestos is required, by law, to be trained in its removal.