Understanding The Law & Asbestos Removal
We all know the dangers that asbestos holds and the damage that it can do, but do you actually know what the law says when it comes to removing asbestos?
For example, what do you do if you suspect that there might be asbestos in your workplace or your home?
If you find asbestos
Firstly, you might be wondering how one goes about identifying asbestos. The truth is that it can be very difficult to identify due to the fact that it is often mixed with other materials.
This image gallery from the Health and Safety Executive shows some of the common places in which asbestos is found.
If you do suspect asbestos is present, the first thing to know is that if the material which contains the asbestos is in good condition and not likely to be damaged, then it may be left in place, as long as it is closely monitored and managed.
The asbestos will need to be removed if it is considered to contain ‘higher risk’ asbestos materials (which is in the majority of cases) then you will need to consult a licensed contractor to remove the asbestos.
‘Duty to Manage’
If you are responsible for looking after a non-domestic property, then you have a ‘duty to manage’ any asbestos which might be present.
This means you must take reasonable steps to find out whether asbestos might be present and what condition it is in, as well as to monitor it and assess if it poses a risk.
If those who use or work on the site are deemed to be at risk from asbestos exposure, then you must manage the asbestos and if necessary, arrange for it to be removed.
And if you wish to carry out on any building or maintenance work on premises where asbestos is present,
It goes without saying that asbestos removal is a very dangerous job, and these materials are more likely to release large amounts of the harmful asbestos fibres while they’re being removed.
For this reason, those who remove these materials must be fully licensed, and have undertaken specific training and make use of sophisticated, specialist breathing apparatus.
There are a couple of lower level asbestos removal tasks which do not require a license, as any exposure from them would be minimal and would not pose a significant health risk, as long as the correct precautions are taken.
If you are considering carrying out non-licensed work, then you often have to notify the enforcing authorities anyway, which you can read more about here.
Any asbestos waste must be double wrapped and appropriately labelled to show that it is a hazard and to stop any of the fibres escaping into the air.
You should also only ever dispose of asbestos at a licensed disposal site, which you can find through your local authority, not in a skip or other such means of disposal.
However, in the majority of instances, we would recommend that you consult a licensed removal company, especially if you’re not sure of the risks.
Remember, if you are suffering from any kind of asbestos-related disease, be sure to get in touch with us here at the Asbestos Advice Helpline to see if you might be entitled to compensation.
Posted In: Asbestos
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