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Why you should never remove asbestos yourself

Why you should never remove asbestos yourself

Posted on Friday 7th November 2014 by Graham

It is unfortunate asbestos is such a dangerous material, one harmful to health, incurable, and often deadly: it had hundreds of commercial uses, was inexpensive and readily available.

The industrial revolution of the mid eighteenth century was a time of steam, gas, and electricity: an age of innovation and mass production. These times of change eventually led to long overdue slum clearance, kick starting a housing construction boom that lasted well into the 1960’s. As a consequence, asbestos found its way into many hundreds of thousands of homes and commercial properties.

Today, although the use of asbestos is now largely banned, these harmful materials do still remain in certain older properties – have lain so undisturbed for years, but beware; it does still pose a risk to health if not handled and managed correctly: reason enough why you should never remove asbestos yourself - a task better left to those trained for the job

Where exactly in the home might one expect to find asbestos is a question often asked by concerned owners of older homes and commercial properties? Asbestos, if present at all, will generally be located out of sight, but even then is not easily identifiable. As homeowners, or an employer responsible for the heath and safety of workers, if you have, or suspect you have, asbestos on your premises, then you advised to seek professional help: resist at all costs the urge to simply roll up your sleeves and take matters into your own hands.

What are the risks?

Friable asbestos, that is, when the material is unstable and crumbles - is released and scattered into the air by even the slightest of breeze: unnoticed, it is inhaled into the respiratory system, triggering a silent cycle, one which will lay dormant for awhile – but generally not forever.

Any form of cutting, sawing, grinding, rubbing, or drilling of asbestos will generate minute airborne fibres. The human immune system’s continuous but fruitless attempts to eject these foreign bodies, causes severe scarring to the lung lining over time, resulting in one or more of the various diseases associated with asbestos exposure.

The effects on the human body can take many years to become manifest but by the time it does, it is too late, the condition is irreversible. There is no known cure, and only limited treatment available to help alleviate the debilitating effects.

Suspect you may have asbestos on your property?

Asbestos is a controlled, harmful substance: wearing basic personal protective equipment such as a dust mask, rubber gloves and overalls will not ensure personal safety, nor that of anyone in the near vicinity of removal activities: nor will they satisfy the Health and safety Executive’s strict rules on handling asbestos. Asbestos cannot be simply bagged up and put out with the weekly garbage. Nor can you take it to your local waste recycling facility and throw it in the nearest skip.

Included in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, since November 2006, is a duty placed on employers to provide appropriate training for all workers who are likely to be exposed to asbestos and to those who supervise or oversee works that might expose employees to asbestos materials.

Intervention Fees – An added incentive for asbestos awareness training

Intervention fees recently introduced by the Health and Safety Executive have proven a big incentive for employers to look again at their organizations health and safety arrangements.

Within the UK construction industry alone between 25 -30 construction workers and former workers die every week from asbestos related diseases.

As a consequence, tradesmen and other employees may at times to this day still be vulnerable to exposure whilst carrying out their work duties. For this reason employee awareness training of asbestos is seen as good, safe practice, one that reduces risk to personal safety and others that may be affected by their activities.

Asbestos awareness training courses are short, are cost effective, and can help avoid compensation claims for negligence at a later date: and can help avoid incurring intervention fee costs. Intervention fees are calculated based on the time the inspector had to spend identifying the breach in regulations, investigating and taking enforcement action, and the generation of documentation and communications in resolving issues. The total amount of time spent on a case is multiplied by the current rate of £124 per hour.

Asbestos Training Limited specialise in providing a bespoke service as well a comprehensive range of standard courses including Asbestos Awareness Training, Non-licensed Asbestos Removal, and Asbestos Management Courses, specific to your requirements, overseas and throughout the UK.

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