Most people have heard of asbestos. But few people are aware that it’s still present in millions of buildings throughout the UK. Despite the dangers associated with the material, asbestos isn’t always removed from existing buildings. This means that there’s a fair chance it’s already present in your workplace.
To help protect your workers and your company, take a look at these seven things to do if you suspect your workplace is affected:
Learn the Signs
Knowing what it looks like and how to identify it is key. Knowing this can give you an edge when it comes to determining whether asbestos is present in your workplace. Also, it exposes the dangers. By enrolling on a certified asbestos awareness training course with NATAS, you can access critical information regarding its dangers. You can discover where it’s most likely to be found and what relevant legislation says about the presence of asbestos in a building.
Consider the Age of the Building
The UK used asbestos extensively until its ban in the late 1990s, explaining its presence in many buildings. However, buildings constructed post-2000 likely don’t contain asbestos. Determining your building’s age helps assess potential asbestos risks and the likelihood of safer materials used in construction.
Understand The Risks
Intact and undisturbed asbestos generally presents minimal health threats. The danger escalates when asbestos gets disturbed, releasing fibres into the air for potential inhalation.
If improvement or construction works are being carried out on a building and asbestos is present, strict protocols must be followed so that workers are not exposed to the fibres. Specialist asbestos removal services are available, which enables companies to rid the workplace of this toxic material before additional work is carried out.
Identify Asbestos-Related Conditions
If someone breathes in fibres, it puts them at risk of various respiratory conditions, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.
The symptoms associated with asbestos-related conditions don’t always become apparent straight away. It can take decades for someone affected by asbestos exposure to experience symptoms or receive a diagnosis. Despite this, the severity of asbestos-related conditions means that it’s vital to ensure people in your workplace aren’t at risk of exposure to the fibres.
Actively Manage’ Existing Asbestos
If a building contains the substance, removal isn’t always necessary. A risk assessment can determine if the asbestos remains undisturbed and in good condition, indicating minimal health risks. However, the property’s maintenance person should actively manage and regularly monitor for degradation signs. If they observe changes, they can arrange for its safe removal.
Work with Licensed Contractors
Only licensed contractors, trained in material handling, should disturb or remove certain materials. While some tasks might not require licensure, many do. Opting for licensed contractors ensures safety and offers peace of mind.
Limit Your Liability
Meeting regulatory standards for assessment and removal safeguards workers and limits company liability. Ignoring regulations can lead to severe repercussions, even without immediate health impacts. If exposure causes illness, affected employees might sue. Proactively following safety guidelines minimizes asbestos-related risks and shields your company.
Why Is Asbestos Still Present In Today’s Workplaces?
Due to past unawareness of its dangers, asbestos was a popular construction material. If undisturbed and intact, it’s generally harmless, explaining its prevalence in workplaces and homes. Proper management minimizes risks, protecting workers from harmful fibres.
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