Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) can be present in any building that has been built prior to the year 2000.
Domestic owners may not realise their home contains asbestos. ACM can be found in substances such as insulation board, cement products, floor tiles, skirting boards, rope and cloth, sprayed coatings, insulation of electrical pipes, damp proof courses, sprayed coatings, textured surfaces of walls and ceilings, external cladding and soffits.
If a property is having any work done to remodel/refurbish it, or if any part is going to be demolished i.e. knock walls down, extend, drop ceilings etc., it is vital that the property has an Asbestos Refurbishment & Demolition Survey to establish if the areas of the property, that will be affected by the building work, contain ACM or not. It is a duty of the Contractor to make sure this is done.
All too frequently, work is being carried out on properties in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. All these apply to asbestos. Contractors have a duty of care to minimise the risk of harm to employees, homeowners and residents alike, by managing asbestos and providing the correct training to employees.
No one should touch any ACM without suitable training. Contractors should ensure all staff and sub-contractors carrying out building work have undertaken Asbestos Awareness Training – this will enable workers to identify substances that have the potential to contain ACM and to recognise if they have been disturbed. Asbestos awareness online e-learning is so easy to do these days, is quick, inexpensive and can be done from any SMART device, so there really is NO excuse not to have sufficient training.
If you come across substances that you may believe contain ACM, work should STOP. This is really important – it will be necessary to call in a specialised company to undertake further tests to see whether ACM are present and if so, whether this needs to be removed or encapsulated.
Suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work also need to be written to ensure employees are informed and aware of the risks and so that they know what they should be doing and how.
As well as the risk of harm to health, prosecutions for companies not taking the proper precautions regarding ACM can result in HUGE fines.
The risks to health from ACM are so widely known, and so much information is available for free on the HSE, that there is little leniency in prosecution cases.
It really could not only save your life, but anyone else’s who may be affected – remember – this might also include your family if asbestos fibres are brought back into your home via your contaminated clothing.
ASBESTOS = NO 2nd CHANCES