Asbestos, where is it hiding?
Posted on Tuesday 24th February 2015 by Graham
Any property, commercial or residential, built or refurbished before the turn of the century in 2000 can pose a threat and hide asbestos, so where exactly should we be looking and be aware of?
Anyone in the construction industry can come in to contact with asbestos just through the many materials that are used in your day-to-day job. So let's have a look at the various materials and places where we are likely to come in to contact.
Asbestos in Materials
- Lagging - mostly found in lagging in our heating systems, old boilers and old pipework. This is one of the most dangerous materials which can contain asbestos
- Loose asbestos - mainly used to insulate commercial and domestic premises years ago and is commonly found within cavity walls, in lofts and under floorboards.
- Sprayed coatings - This can be found on insulation on the underside of roofs and sometimes sides of buildings and commercial premises. It was also used as fire protection on steel and reinforced concrete beams and on underside of floors. It was common to get a 'splash back' from the equipment used therefore it is likely there will be debris around the area that was originally sprayed.
- Roofing Felt - Often used on garages and other outbuildings Asbestos Roofing Felt is a dangerous material to work with.
- Asbestos Cement Products - this can be found in many common products including cement roofs, wall cladding, asbestos downpipes, asbestos gutters, cement flues, water tanks, fire surrounds and old pipes.
- Asbestos Rope Seals and Gaskets - often found in old gas and electric heating appliances.
- Asbestos Insulating Board - commonly used as a fireproofing material but also used in partition walls, ceiling tiles, soffits, panels in fire proof doors.
- Asbestos Floor Tiles - at one time these were very popular and are now commonly found in older properties especially under old carpets.
- Asbestos Textiles - Items such as fire blankets, old fuse boxes, and even heat-resistant gloves can contain asbestos. Other items can include old toilet cisterns, toilet seats, bath panels and window sills.
- Textured Coating (e.g Artex) - Yes we have all seen them and come across them, textured coating walls and ceilings and may contain asbestos in older buildings.
- Externally - Asbestos cement roofs and panels mainly large corrugated sheets usually found on old industrial units, farm buildings, old garages and sheds. Also downpipes, guttering, insulation boards, soffits and flues.
- Internally - As mentioned above asbestos can be found in sprayed coatings, asbestos cement in water tanks, loose fill insulation, old lagging around old boilers and pipes, ceiling tiles, partition walls, toilet seats and cisterns, fire doors, old floor tiles, decorating coatings and even in old fire blankets.
Who is at risk?
So with asbestos lurking in all these old materials and properties who exactly is most at risk incoming in to contact with asbestos?
Any workers involved in construction, that includes property refurbishment, property maintenance and other similar trades, not limited to:
- Heating engineers
- Air conditioning or ventilation engineers
- Demolition workers
- Construction workers
- Plumbers and pipe fitters
- Roofing contractors
- Painters and decorators
- Fire and burglar alarm installers
- Shop fitters
- Gas fitters
- Computer installers
- Data installers
- General maintenance staff, such as caretakers
- Telecoms engineers
- Cable layers
The above list does not include all the occupations that can be at risk from potential exposure to asbestos, but as you can see many workers and industries can be affected and have the possibility of coming in to contact with asbestos at some point.
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