Asbestos is a scary word. And with good reason. In ‘What is Asbestos’ we revealed that more people die from exposure to asbestos each year than on Britain’s roads. So, if you find that a building you own or manage has asbestos within it, what should you do?
Asbestos is used in many different ways, and the way that it is used changes the level of risk that it presents.
Asbestos which has fibres firmly bound in a matrix that is largely intact such as cement, bitumen, papers and textiles, pose a lower risk than pipe insulation and other uses, where fibres can be more easily released into the environment.
Because asbestos can be so dangerous, regulations around your responsibilities in the event that you have asbestos in your building, are tight. Here’s what to do if you discover your building has materials containing asbestos in it.
Resist the urge to instantly rip it out – this can cause more problems than it can solve.
Asbestos is only dangerous once it has been disturbed, so with careful management, it doesn’t present a health risk.
Because the level of risk varies vastly, it’s best to have the property surveyed by an asbestos removal specialist to determine the level of risk and the best options for removal of the materials.
Stop any building work in the area
If you are having work done in the area, stop the work immediately and cordon off the area to prevent entry. If there is no damage to the materials, you’ll need to understand your legal responsibilities. Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos 2012 Regulations stipulates responsibilities that property owners and managers must comply with once there is the potential that asbestos has been used within the building.
Arrange for a sample to be analysed
You should contact a specialist in asbestos removal, such as Rainbow, who can arrange for sample testing and a risk analysis before confirming the best course of action to take. It’s important to work on a worst case scenario. The HSE recommends you assume materials do contain asbestos until proven otherwise to ensure effective management.
If the material has been damaged …
If however, the asbestos-containing material has been damaged, you’ll need to act quickly.
According to the HSE, if there are small amounts of dust on your clothing or shoes, you should wipe down surfaces with damp rags before disposing of the rags wrapped in plastic. Ensure you keep a record of the event.
You’ll need to arrange for a sample to be analysed to determine whether there is asbestos present, and also to determine the level of risk. This will determine whether you need to remove or manage the asbestos.
Why it’s worth calling in the specialists
Of course, it’s a lot less stressful, and a lot more reliable to call in the specialists.
Specialists in asbestos removal have to undergo specific training to learn how to keep themselves and those around the safe during the removal of asbestos.
Rainbow Coventry’s asbestos removal team are trained to safely and effectively remove asbestos. They’ll be able to advise you on whether your asbestos needs to be removed or managed.
Then, with the correct equipment, skills and knowledge, they will quickly remove asbestos containing materials, packaging them for secure transfer to a disposal unit.
Our teams will even conduct a visual inspection and air tests before they leave, for added peace of mind.
If you believe you have asbestos-containing material on site, call us for more information, or to arrange for a visit from one of our technicians, call 02476 644 460.