Guarding against asbestos related disease in the workplace

The dangers of asbestos are so serious that legislation was introduced to protect people from the substance least year in the form of the Control of Asbestos Regulations. The size and shape of asbestos fibres mean that they cannot be removed or expelled by the lungs once breathed in. These fibres are carcinogenic and can cause serious damage to the pleura, alveoli and bronchi, possibly leading to conditions as serious as asbestosis, mesothelioma or even cancer.

Since 2000, the use of asbestos in building materials has been banned, meaning that Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) are usually only found in buildings built before the millennium. Wall cavities, flooring and insulating boards are often found to contain asbestos and harmful dust is often released when building or maintenance is performed. Employers are legally required (due to a various pieces of legislation) to limit their employees’ contact with asbestos when undertaking work on buildings constructed before 2000, in order to protect their health and wellbeing. Employers are equally responsible to non-workers who perhaps live in the building and could be placed in danger. Employers must train their staff adequately to be aware of asbestos in both ‘licensable’ and ‘non licensable’ (which requires a licence to carry out) work.

Put simply, when carrying out work on buildings constructed before 2000, employees should avoid disturbing anything which may hold asbestos. This will sometimes be inescapable of course and when this is the cases, comprehensive safety guidelines such as those below should be followed to protect workers:

• Use all available records of the building to determine whether or not it may contain asbestos before starting any work

• Make full use of the PPE (personal protective equipment) provided

• Inform people in close proximity (e.g. neighbours) of the work being carried out

• Do not eat, drink or smoke in the affected area

• Do not walk on ACM

• Do not attempt to reuse single use overalls or masks

• Do not use tools which could dislodge lots of dust e.g. power tools

• Guard against the accumulation of dust by regularly using H-type vacuum cleaners or double bagging waste

• Wash prior to breaks and returning home

Asbestos related disease compensation claim? Contact us today

Don’t forget that there are very strict time limits for making a work accident claim. If you think you have grounds for an asbestos related disease compensation claim, contact our work accident solicitors  straight away.

• For FREE initial phone advice, telephone 0808 901 9069 , or

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