At Patterson Protective Coatings Ltd, we provide valuable information and guidance on the dangers of asbestos and the safe practice of dealing with the problem .The HSE of Northern Ireland describe asbestos as “The Hidden Killer”. With this in mind we all have a responsibility to nullify the spread of harmful and dangerous airborne fibres that can be disastrous to our health. We offer coatings which are independently tested for its asbestos encapsulation and waterproofing capabilities via the industry recognized “Cori” Coatings Research Institution.
Why is asbestos a problem?
Large amounts of asbestos were used in new and refurbished buildings before 2000. Usage began to decline in the 1970s and blue asbestos (crocidolite) had a voluntary ban in 1970. Blue and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned by law in 1985. Uses of white asbestos (chrysotile) were banned in 1999. Everything else and most second-hand supply (except for very high performance materials) was banned by 2000. Therefore, all supply of materials containing asbestos is banned, including making materials available to a third party in any way, whether or not for any payment. A large number of premises and older plant and equipment still contain some form of asbestos. Much of the asbestos will be hidden in the fabric of the building so not immediately obvious – it is also unlikely to be recorded in the building plans. Workers most likely to come into contact with asbestos-containing products are those in the construction, maintenance, refurbishment and related trades. When asbestos materials are damaged or disturbed they can release dangerous fibres which, if breathed in, can cause serious diseases. Around 4500 people in Great Britain die every year from asbestosrelated diseases, making asbestos the single greatest cause of workrelated deaths.
What you need to do.
Before starting work you need to check what asbestos is present, in commercial properties there should be a plan/register – ask to see it. You need to check that the plan covers the area of the building that you will be working in and if you are doing refurbishment work that it includes a survey that tells you what types of asbestos is present and it’s condition. If there is no register or survey or the report is not clear – do not start work. Alternatively, you can assume that any material you need to disturb does contain asbestos. The client also needs to see your plan of work to understand what work you are going to do, and how.