Identifying and Training for Asbestos in the Workplace


If you are working in a building that was built or even refurbished before the year 2000, then it’s possible that asbestos is present in your workplace. Asbestos can cause very serious illnesses, such as Mesothelioma, if exposed to the fibres, so you should be aware of the various types of asbestos, the risks and how to deal with it.

In order to make sure your workplace is safe, you should know the types of asbestos; if you ever find materials containing asbestos around the building, then you should notify an authority. Here are the various types of materials that contain asbestos:

–          Sprayed Asbestos

Sprayed material containing asbestos fibres would have been used for insulation in buildings; this material was sprayed on the underside of roofs and any disturbance could release the asbestos fibres. These fibres are very dangerous if inhaled. This type is generally a white or grey colour and has a rough texture.

–          Lagging

This would most likely be found around boilers or piping. Fibres from this material can be released very easily and this makes it one of the most dangerous types of asbestos. This type is not easy to identify because it’s often painted or covered, however, it is a very flaky material.

–          Asbestos Insulating Board

Insulation boards containing asbestos are used in many areas around a building, including the ceiling and the walls. This is not the most dangerous type as non-licensed workers can perform minor tasks. It’s fairly difficult to identify this type because it looks like any other ceiling tile or wall panel, so if you are unsure, then you should get a licensed asbestos surveyor to check.

–          Asbestos Cement

Asbestos cement has been used in a variety of places, both on the inside and the outside of buildings, for example, cement roofs can be made up of a large amount of asbestos. This has also been used for wall cladding and guttering. This is another type that is not as dangerous as others; non-licensed workers can also perform tasks without permission. This type of asbestos will have a grey colour and will basically look like cement.

–          Textured Coating

This has been used to create a decorative finish on both walls and ceilings and while you are not required to have a license to work on these materials, you should notify the relevant authority because working with any type of asbestos can be dangerous. Due to the fact that this type of asbestos has a decorative finish, it is not always easy to identify, however, if your ceilings are patterned, then it would be a good idea to have someone check.

Now you know the various types of asbestos, you should know what can happen if you are exposed to it. Being exposed to asbestos can potentially be fatal and can cause serious diseases; there are four main diseases that have different levels of seriousness. Here are the four diseases:

–          Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma commonly develops due to exposure of asbestos. This type of cancer is very rare and it is fatal. According to HSE, 2,347 people died in 2010 as a result of Mesothelioma.

–          Asbestosis

This is another serious disease that causes lungs to be scarred. Even though it’s not always fatal, it is a progressive disease that can keep getting worse.

–          Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can be caused by a variety of things, including being exposed to asbestos; much of the time this disease is fatal, but not always.

–          Diffuse Pleural Thickening

This condition also links to the scarring of the lungs, although, it’s not fatal.

Many people have been entitled to compensation for being exposed to asbestos and many have even sued their employers for it, so what can you do to make sure you and your workers are safe in the workplace?

–          Find an asbestos surveyor to ensure your building is safe.

–          You and your staff should watch an asbestos training video just to make sure that if you ever come in contact with asbestos, you will all know how to deal with it.

–          Make sure everyone is aware of the types of asbestos and where the materials would be located just so it is easier to identify.

Remember that asbestos fibres can be highly dangerous if inhaled, so you need to make sure everyone in the building is aware of the dangers and how to identify this hidden killer. Keep yourself and your workers safe; all you need to do is be aware.

Taking care of your workplace is important, whether it is dealing with asbestos or just giving it a good clean; a cleaning service can be hired to do this for you if you do not have the time or the materials to do it.

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