Asbestos Risk Management in the Workplace
Whether you work in a factory or a call centre, if the building you work in was built prior to 1999 there’s a chance that asbestos was used in its construction. This popular and cost-effective insulating material was finally banned because it was found to create hazardous environmental conditions potentially leading to chronic and fatal diseases.
Asbestos becomes dangerous when it’s disturbed or damaged. These conditions cause its microscopic fibres to become airborne. Breathing in these fibres, over a sustained period of time, can cause a range of heath problems from respiratory problems to cancers. There are 5,000 asbestos-related deaths each year as a consequence of asbestos inhalation decades ago.
Where Might You Find Asbestos in the Workplace?
Asbestos was used for a range of applications in construction. As an insulating material it can be found in walls of buildings or in roofing. It’s also present in vinyl floor tiles and coatings used on walls, columns, ceilings and beams. When the ban was introduced in 1999, there was no requirement to strip out existing asbestos, so many workplaces still contain this hazardous material.
Commercial Asbestos Surveys
If you own or manage a workplace built before 1999, there is a legal requirement for you to carry out a commercial asbestos survey. This comprises a visual, non-intrusive inspection which assesses the risk of asbestos exposure in your workplace. In most cases, any asbestos discovered will be ‘inert’ and therefore low risk. It will, nevertheless, need to be managed. Any damaged or disturbed asbestos will require professional removal and safe disposal.
What is Asbestos Management?
An asbestos management plan aims to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos in the workplace. It comprises a detailed description of both the location where asbestos has been found, and its condition. Should any decorating or refurbishment be planned, the location of asbestos will need to be taken into account. If there’s risk of disturbance it will need to be removed safely.
What To Do If You’re Worried About Asbestos
If you are worried that asbestos has been disturbed in your workplace it’s important to act quickly. Work should stop immediately, and the location should be evacuated. The exposed material should then be professionally analysed. If it’s not harmful, work can continue. If it’s found to be hazardous a licensed asbestos removals contractor will need to be called in.
You should never try to deal with, or remove asbestos yourself. Any disturbance will proliferate the potential danger by releasing fibres into the environment. If in any doubt, call a professional contractor for advice.
Avanti is an HSE licensed asbestos removal contractors, with extensive asbestos management expertise. We provide prompt commercial asbestos surveys, and asbestos sampling. Should inert asbestos be discovered we can help businesses to put a management plan in place. Where asbestos has been disturbed or damaged, we will remove it safely, whilst protecting people and the environment throughout.
Concerned about how to deal with asbestos in the workplace? Avanti provides prompt asbestos surveys, and professional removals. Call us on0333 3355974