Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral of which there are three main types of fibres; chrysotile (white), amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue).

You can read more about asbestos on the Health and Safety Executive website. Or you can contact us about health and safety issues using the form below. 

Health and safety advice form >

Advice for businesses

Electricians, plumbers, building maintenance workers, and shop fitters are particularly at risk and it is essential that precautionary measures are taken by both contractors and building owners to identify whether a material or structure contains asbestos before work commences. If asbestos is present or likely to be present suitable precautionary measures must be in place including in many situations the need for licensed asbestos contractors to safely remove asbestos before work commences.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 places an important legal duty on the owner/occupier of non-domestic premises to develop an asbestos management plan.

Advice for householders

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. It has also been used in household products like ironing boards and oven gloves.

Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain from the 1950s through to the mid 1980s.

Some areas in your home where you may find asbestos include:

  • eaves, gutters and rainwater fall pipes
  • fire blankets
  • boilers
  • garage and shed roofs
  • linings for walls, ceilings and doors
  • insulation panels in some storage heaters
  • bath panels
  • central heating flues
  • loose asbestos packing between floors and in partition walls
  • floor tiles
  • ironing boards
  • ceiling finishes

Asbestos containing materials are safe and will not harm you as long as they are intact and have not been damaged or tampered with in any way. If the asbestos has been damaged or work has been carried out on it, then asbestos dust fibres may have been released. Exposure to asbestos dust can cause lung diseases. Asbestos dust can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and certain types of cancer..

Identification

Identification of asbestos containing products is very difficult as you can't always tell by the texture/colour of a product whether it contains asbestos. The only guaranteed method of identifying if something contains asbestos is to have it tested by a UKAS approved laboratory.

Removal and disposal of asbestos

Asbestos materials must be removed and disposed of in the correct manner. Certain types of asbestos such as coatings should only be removed by a licensed contractor. However certain types of asbestos can be removed yourself such as asbestos cement sheeting often found on garage roofs.