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Asbestos: quick guide for trades

Aimed at various tradespeople, this HSE document aims to give guidance to those dealing with asbestos on a daily basis.

It notes that:

  • 5,000 die every year from asbestos related diseases.

  • Every tradesperson is likely to undertake work in a building that contains asbestos at some point.

  • There is no cure for asbestosis once it has developed.

  • Asbestos can be in any building built before the year 2000.

  • Asbestos remains in millions of homes, business premises and public buildings today.

  • Even small jobs like drilling a hole can expose you to the danger.

  • If your work is likely to disturb asbestos, you must take action to ensure that you and others are not exposed to danger.

The guidance sets out illustrations of residential and industrial properties to highlight where asbestos can be found, both inside and outside. It is stressed that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure and it may be in places that are not obvious. Hence, contact can be made without realising.

Before getting started:

  • Consider doing some basic asbestos awareness training.

  • Ask if a survey has been done or if a plan or an asbestos register is available.

  • Check if the building was built or refurbished before the year 2000.

  • If possible, plan the job to avoid disturbing any asbestos.

On the job:

  • Be aware that hidden asbestos could still be found even if a survey has been done.

  • Be aware of what to watch for and where it hides.

  • If you suspect asbestos, assume it is until proven otherwise.

  • If you’re not trained to work with asbestos and/or you are not prepared - STOP WORK.

The document goes on to set out guidance and information on the following:

  • What to do if asbestos if disturbed.

  • Asbestos: non licensed and licensed work.

  • Common asbestos-containing material:

    • Loose fill asbestos insulation.

    • Lagging on pipes.

    • Asbestos insulation board (AIB) – external and internal.

    • Spray coating insulation.

    • Gas/electric meter and fuse box.

    • Textured coatings, e.g. Artex.

    • Toilet seat and cistern.

    • Vinyl floor tiles.

    • Asbestos cement.

HSE March 2023

Please click on the document:

Asbestos and You
Download PDF • 444KB

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