How can you deal with asbestos in your workplace?

Asbestos hasn’t been used in new construction projects for many years, but refurbishments and building conversion projects are frequently held up because asbestos is discovered during the building work.

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In fact, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warns that asbestos may be present in any building that was completed before 2000. That includes schools, hospitals, factories and offices, so many workplaces can be affected. Asbestos exposure still causes around 5,000 deaths a year, so asbestos in the workplace needs to be rigorously controlled and managed.

It’s essential to follow the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) because if the building work disturbs asbestos, there is a legal responsibility to take certain steps. Whoever owns the building or is responsible for managing and maintaining it must:

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-Find out if there’s any asbestos in the building
-Document its type, condition and location
-Decide if there’s a risk of anyone being exposed to it
-Develop a plan to deal with the risks
-Monitor and update the plan
-Be ready to give the information to anyone who might disturb the asbestos when working on or near it

Asbestos in HVAC systems

In the past, HVAC systems often contained asbestos. For example, any steel spiral duct or other piece of ducting could have been lined with asbestos. Another example is ductwork connectors, which were often made from a yarn with a high asbestos content. Asbestos was also frequently used to lag pipework to prevent corrosion. If there is any suspicion of this, new steel spiral duct work like steel spiral ducts at Dust Spares will be needed.

Use an HSE licensed asbestos removal firm

There are several lab tests that must be carried out and sampling procedures that have to be observed during asbestos removal. Precautions must be taken and work has to be carried out using specific methods. Disposal is highly regulated and controlled; the asbestos has to be encapsulated.

The HSE licences firms to carry out asbestos removal. Licensed contractors can get the job done safely and issue certification to this effect. Asbestos is classified as a category 1 carcinogen, so it’s vital not to take any chances with the health of your workforce or those carrying out building or renovation work in the factory or office.

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