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Do you know… about the dangers of asbestos?



What is asbestos?


Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral. There are six types, all of which are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fibre being composed of many microscopic "fibrils" that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to various dangerous lung conditions, including mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, so it is now notorious as a serious health and safety hazard.


Why is asbestos so dangerous?


When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.


Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road. Around 20 tradesmen die each week as a result of past exposure, however asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.


Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases:

  • Mesothelioma

  • Asbestos-related lung cancer

  • Asbestosis

  • Pleural thickening


How can you manage working with asbestos?

  • Identify whether asbestos is present and determine its type and condition.

  • Carry out a risk assessment.

  • Decide if the work needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor.

  • If the work is not licensable, decide if the work needs to be notified.

  • Ensure those carrying out the work are suitably trained.


Working safely with asbestos


Do:

  • stop work and speak to your employer, or the building owner if you are suspicious something may be asbestos or if you think the work might need to be carried out by a licensed contractor

  • follow the plan of work and the essentials guidance sheets – make sure you use the right sheet for the job

  • make sure you take account of other risks such as work at height

  • use your protective equipment, including a suitable face mask, worn properly

  • clean up as you go - stop waste building up

  • make sure waste is double-bagged and is disposed of properly at a licensed tip

  • wash before breaks and before going home

  • check whether the work should be notified

  • make sure you have had adequate training before you start work

Don't:

  • use methods that create a lot of dust, like using power tools

  • sweep up dust and debris - use a Type H vacuum cleaner or wet rags

  • take home overalls used for asbestos work

  • reuse disposable clothing or masks

  • smoke

  • eat or drink in the work area


How can Logic assist?


Workers and supervisors must be able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know what to do if they come across them in order to protect themselves and others.


At Logic we can help by providing –

  • Training

  • Site visits

  • Advice

  • Surveys

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