Asbestos is the name given to several naturally occurring minerals that have been crystallised to form fibres. As well as being mechanically strong and inexpensive, asbestos fibres are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals, making them a popular material to use throughout the construction industry. But despite its durability and multi-functional properties, asbestos has a shady reputation. Once heavy exposure became associated with several health risks, it was banned entirely from the UK in 1999 and hasn’t been used since. While this is good news for the building trade, according to the HSE, there are approximately 5,000 deaths in the UK annually linked to past exposure, meaning a reliable asbestos removal service is as valuable as ever.
Any building built or refurbished before the year 2000 can contain asbestos because it is commonly used in many insulating materials. When these materials are damaged/disturbed, microparticles are released into the air, which can cause serious diseases when inhaled over a long period. As a result, the number of people that die from asbestos exposure is currently higher than those killed on the road which is why asbestos surveys are so important. Diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening are all related to contact with asbestos fibres and don’t always present symptoms until it’s too late for treatment to be effective. It is, therefore, a recognised duty to manage asbestos safety (and consult an asbestos removal service) if you order a non-domestic property to protect the health of the people who work in it.
Asbestos removal is a serious business and is the responsibility of either the owner of the non-domestic premises or the person/organisation in charge of maintenance and repairs. These buildings include commercial and public facilities such as schools, hospitals, shops and factories, along with ‘common’ areas of some domestic premises like foyers, corridors, lifts and staircases. The owner/manager will need to determine whether the premises contain asbestos and what sort of condition it’s in before assessing the risk and devising a plan to manage it. This information will need to be given to others who are likely to disturb the asbestos (such as building contractors) so that the appropriate steps can be taken to ensure their safety.
Asbestos was commonly used before it was banned in 1999 and can still be found in water tanks, toilet cisterns, lagging floor tiles, and Artex. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, it is best to consult your local environmental office, which can advise you. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can sometimes be sealed if the damage is minimal. Still, the HSE strongly advises using trained professionals to undertake any repair work or removal because it is hazardous if disturbed. All ACMs will need to be disposed of correctly, and a certified asbestos removal service can help and act accordingly without compromising anyone’s safety.
If you’d like more information about asbestos removal services or the legalities of managing asbestos, please fill out the contact form on our website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Chirmarn Asbestos Specialists at 0191 414 8000.