Even if there’s an asbestos register for your premises it’s all too easy to turn up undiscovered Asbestos during maintenance work.
For anyone responsible for refurbishing or maintaining 20th century building stock, it can feel as though asbestos is something that can be unearthed when you least expect it.
As a result of its unique properties of temperature, chemical and fire resistance, asbestos was previously used for many applications including spray coating on steelwork, concrete walls and ceilings for fire protection and insulation; insulation lagging in pipework, boilers and ducts; wall partitioning board, fire doors and ceiling tiles; cement products including those for walls and roofs, tiles, cold water tanks, downpipes, gutters and in decorative plaster finishes; corrugated or flat sheeting used for walls and roofs; and in bituminous, plastic, resin and rubber products to name a few.
The main Construction Group flagged up worries about construction workers receiving asbestos awareness training ONLY when they are likely to be working where the hazardous material has been identified, this would suggest you can’t always rely on contractors to know the right thing to do if they come across asbestos-bearing materials unexpectedly.The HSE’s figures show high concentrations around ship building areas they also estimate that 20 tradespeople die each week as a result of asbestos exposure as well as four plumbers, six electricians and eight joiners, shows that the construction and refurbishment trades are still suffering the effects of past failures to manage exposure.
Tasks where workers may come into contact with asbestos cement in buildings include: cleaning weathered roofing and exterior cladding, repairing damaged asbestos cement, removing sheets or gutters, removing reinforced plastic products, replacing flues or ducts, drilling holes in highly bonded materials, cleaning debris from roof guttering, taking out panels beside or under windows.