Asbestos: The Hidden Threat

Asbestos is a hazardous and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) material that can be very damaging to both human health and the environment. As this particular material does not break down easily, it remains in the environment for extended periods of time.

What must you do with Hazardous Waste?

Waste containing more than 0.1% asbestos is classed as hazardous waste.

Any waste that contains asbestos must be securely disposed of and taken to an authorised site with a waste management license or pollution prevent and control (PPC) permit.

You should double-bag and place in a covered, locked skip any material that has been contaminated. This procedure includes disposal of:

  • Overalls
  • Over-shoes
  • Sampling wastes
  • Respiratory protection equipment
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

You must not mix asbestos waste with other types of waste.

If you have large asbestos sheets you should not break them up. Instead, wrap them in polythene sheeting.

Did you know?

You may have old equipment that contains asbestos, such as ovens, insulating mats, fire blankets, oven gloves or ironing surfaces. Asbestos can also be found in some old brake pads and clutch linings of vehicles. Ensuring you are aware of the products you are working can prevent hazardous exposure.

Asbestos-contaminated soil can be created by mixing clean soil with demolition rubble, through poor housekeeping at industrial sites or through poor waste disposal practices. Storing asbestos waste securely avoids it spreading and causing contamination.

Stay aware

Although the use of materials containing asbestos was banned in 1999 there is still six million tonnes of asbestos that remains hidden within Britain’s infrastructure.

Many people regularly suffer terribly due to asbestos-related conditions, many of which could have been avoided. The effects of asbestos exposure can be devastating, especially when the consequences were caused by complacency or negligence in a construction environment.

Statistics provide a shocking revelation to the number of cases related to asbestos illnesses, killing just over 5,000 people every year – http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbestos.htm

Asbestos-related conditions take decades to manifest themselves, and many believe we will see a significant rise in cases over the coming years.

To be Continued 

Contractors must work hard to avoid unnecessary exposure to asbestos in a working environment.

Legal responsibility lies firmly with employers to provide information, instruction and training to those who are likely to come into contact with asbestos.

Asbestos is a persistent menace that has the potential to create health, legal and financial issues for all those involved within the industry for many years to come.

Ensure your business, employer’s and stakeholders are protected by taking the necessary steps to protect them, not only with insurance, but knowledge and equipment to do their job safely.

Adler Insurance

Content creator for the Adler Insurance Group.