General Questions (4)

Our FAQ's section has been designed to help you find quick and accurate answers to the most common question in relation to asbestos.

If you require any further assistance with regards to answering questions in relating to asbestos then please do not hesitate contact us.

The Duty Holder is a person or organisation that manages all maintenance activities throughout a workplace/commercial building. The Duty Holder is responsible to ensure an asbestos management plan is updated and available to any person that may disturb asbestos during either routine or planned maintenance activities.

The purpose of an asbestos survey includes:

* Identify the locations of ACMs
* Quantify the risk
* Provide recommendations
The purpose of a Refurbishment & Demolition Survey is to locate and record where asbestos containing materials are within a building. This level of survey is required before any major refurbishment or demolition work is undertaken. The survey is destructive where damage to the fabric of a building often occurs, ideally the building should be unoccupied but with planning the work and implementing controls can minimise the risk, the survey must include the following:
· Unrestricted number of samples
· Certificate of analysis
· CAD drawings that indicate the locations of where the samples have been taken (reference numbers from the certificate of analysis) · Photographic evidence
· Surveyors recommendations
To avoid any caveats within a survey report you will need to plan the survey with your preferred consultant, ensure that they have planned the work that enables access to all parts of the building. You are at liberty to refuse an asbestos report if the survey is incomplete or has not met you project objectives.
At present asbestos related deaths are increasing with the death toll reaching 4000 per annum (UK), therefore making asbestos Britain’s biggest occupational killer. From your initial exposure to the symptoms and development of an asbestos related disease it can take up to 60 years to develop.
Asbestos is a term for a group of silicate minerals:

1- Chrysotile (white)
2- Amosite (brown)
3- Crocidolite (blue)

The peak use for asbestos was between the 1940s and mid 1980s and during that time new towns and cities we either constructed or regenerated this meant a huge demand for asbestos products.

Asbestos used for insulation materials was initially prohibited in 1985 (2 & 3) and then followed by the banning of Chrysotile (1) in 1999.

There is now a total prohibition on the use and re-use of asbestos within the European Union and other developed nations.
People who have been exposed to asbestos through their work are at the highest risk of damage to their lungs, this includes carpenters, plumbers, electricians, laggers, painters and builders.

People who worked in shipbuilding, railway engineering and asbestos manufacturing have a higher risk of continues exposure.

Secondary exposure was through people that either lived or traveled with people that worked in an asbestos environment, such as manufacturing, installation and transportation of asbestos products.

There are three main conditions that can occur from exposure to asbestos:

Asbestosis - is a chronic lung disease in which there is scar-like tissue formed in the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis). This fibrosis decreases the elasticity of the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Shortness of breath is the most common symptom. Development of asbestosis usually requires several years of exposure to asbestos fibres. The development and progression of asbestosis varies from individual to individual. It is often slow with little changes over five, ten or more years

Plural Plaques - - Inhalation of asbestos fibres can also lead to four types of non-cancerous abnormalities in the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). In many cases, the development of pleural plaques is not seen for 20 to 30 years after exposure. Pleural effusions (excess fluid between the two membranes that envelop the lungs) usually occur within 10 years after exposure.

Mesothelioma - - Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive, usually fatal cancer arising from the mesothelial cells that form the lining of the pleural (lung), peritoneal (abdominal) and pericardial (heart) cavities. For mesothelioma, the latency is generally 30-40 years, with the longer periods seen where there had been lower levels of asbestos exposure.

All asbestos removal work must be planned to incorporate control measures that minimises the release of asbestos fibres. Asbestos materials that are considered to be high risk were often used for insulation purposes such as sprayed coatings, lagging and boarding. Licensed asbestos removal work is a significantly hazardous activity and therefore planning the right controls are essential to minimise the risk. As a result licensed asbestos removal work is subjected to site monitoring by an independent party and random site visits by the HSE. If the licensed contractor has been subjected to a serious breach of health and safety the HSE have the authority to revoke the license. It is essential that your preferred licensed contractor conforms to legislative controls and recognises industry best practice, otherwise you and your contractor could be subjected to HSE prosecution and potential adverse publicity

Other Questions (7)

The answers on most common questions are described bellow.

A control limit is enforced by the HSE, no person can be exposed to asbestos that exceeds the control limit of .01 f/cc averaged over a four hour period.

Planning work with asbestos will include an exposure assessment, the assessment will determine the required controls to work safely with asbestos.

Any work that is likely to result in exposures at or above the control limit should be considered high risk and undertaken by a licensed contractor using appropriate controls.