What is Asbestos and why is it so dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. It was mainly used as an insulator. It had good fire protection properties and it also protected against corrosion. However, it was found to be extremely dangerous. It can be inhaled without realising and cause the following diseases.
- Mesothelioma. This is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. It also affects the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract. It is almost exclusively related to exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.
- Asbestosis. This is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath. In severe cases can be fatal.
- Pleural thickening. This is generally a problem that happens after substantial exposure. The lining of the lung thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed. This can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.
Working with Asbestos
Because it is often mixed with another material, it’s hard to know if you’re working with it or not. It is likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos if it was built in the early 2000’s. Asbestos is found in many products used in buildings. Products including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.
The use of asbestos-containing materials was not banned in buildings until 1999. Anything built or refurbished before the year 2000, may still contain some traces. If you’re working with asbestos, you need to be aware of the potential risks.
You must ensure the following:
- Your employees have the knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the work. They must be able to do this without risk to themselves.
- Supervisors and managers are trained. They must be aware of their responsibilities when dealing with asbestos.
- The training provider is competent and aware of the tasks that are carried out by your company.
- You are maintaining a register for each worker. You must hold information about the nature and duration of the work they have undertaken.
- That you have notified the relevant enforcing authority. This must be done for all work taking place in any premises containing asbestos.
Ignorance of this law could lead to the employees being entitled to bring a separate civil claim for damages against any employer. they can do this because they have been negligently exposed the victim. The damages awarded can reach £80,000 per case for pain and suffering alone. It is always better to be aware of asbestos. Why not attend a course or enrol your employees on a course to ensure law abidance?
You should ensure that you attend relevant training courses and that your work activities do not pose a threat to your health. Get a health check if you have previously dealt with asbestos or feel you may have been exposed.Back to News View Our Courses