Asbestos is a widely used term but not always understood by individuals. It is important to know the relevant health concerns, safe practices, guidelines, and relevant information for homeowners and employers. We’ve detailed below some frequently asked questions regarding asbestos. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a variety of construction materials for its strength and heat resistance. It can be found in insulation, flooring, siding, shingles, pipes, and other materials. When was asbestos used? Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials until the early 1990s and was eventually banned in 1999. How can you tell if a material contains asbestos? If you suspect that a material in your home or office contains asbestos, it is important to have it tested by a qualified professional such as DES. Asbestos is not harmful if left untouched. However, it is important to get it checked immediately to avoid any health issues. Get in touch today if you suspect ACM on your property. What should you do if asbestos is found in your home or office? If asbestos is found in your home or office, the best course of action is to have it disposed by a qualified professional. DES has over 25 years of experience in dealing with asbestos and can help you safely remove it from your property. The most important thing is to not touch the suspected materials and have it removed or encased correctly. What are the health risks from asbestos? Asbestos is a known carcinogen and exposure to it can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening, and other diseases. It is important to avoid exposure to asbestos fibres as much as possible. Asbestos related illnesses have a high mortality rate and can be incredibly problematic. Asbestos related illnesses typically take years to appear, at which point, it is too late to help the individual. For this reason, necessary safety measure should always be taken when working with asbestos or asbestos related materials (ACM). If you have previously worked in construction roles, you are most at risk of asbestos related illnesses. The current death rate for asbestos related illnesses is around 4000 deaths per year. What do I do if I come across asbestos during work? You should stop immediately, inform your employer, and ensure a licensed asbestos removal contractor is contacted to undergo any removal or encasement services. Is there a legal certificate to prove asbestos training? There is no legal requirement to hold a certificate, but many training providers will issue one upon completion of a training course. What does asbestos look like? Asbestos can be difficult to identify and looks similar to insulation materials. If you’d like to know more, you can read our blog about it here. When is an asbestos licence required? A licence is required for any work that would result in the disturbance of asbestos containing materials (ACM) where there is a potential for asbestos fibres to be released into the air. All work with sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos insulation or asbestos lagging and the majority of work with asbestos insulating board (AIB) requires a licence because of the hazardous nature of these high-risk materials. If you are unsure whether or not your work will require a licence, you can contact HSE who will be able to advise you further. Is asbestos training a legal responsibility? Current regulations place a legal duty on employers to provide correct information, instruction and training to employees who are likely to be exposed to asbestos as part of their job. Do I need a risk assessment before starting work on asbestos? Yes. A risk assessment must be carried out before any work on asbestos can begin. How should I correctly dispose of asbestos? Asbestos waste must be taken to a licensed landfill site. You can find your nearest one by contacting your local council. DES can also help you with the correct disposal of asbestos waste. We will conduct asbestos removal services certified by a variety of accreditations. We safely bag your asbestos waste and transport it to a licenced landfill using a specialist vehicle with a waste section to safely transport the materials. What is ‘duty to manage’ asbestos? The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 place a ‘duty to manage’ asbestos in non-domestic premises on those who own or occupy the building or have responsibility for managing the building. This duty includes taking reasonable steps to find out if there is asbestos in the property and managing the risk from any asbestos that is found. If you are unsure whether you have a ‘duty to manage’ asbestos in your property, you can contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for advice. How can I find out more about asbestos? If you would like to find out more about asbestos, you can visit the HSE website or the DES website. I think there may be asbestos in my home, what should I do? If you think there may be asbestos in your home, you should contact a licensed asbestos removal contractor to arrange for a survey to be carried out. If asbestos is found, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action. It is not advisable to attempt to remove asbestos yourself as this can be extremely dangerous. Never try to handle or remove the materials yourself. Please get in touch today if you suspect asbestos in your home. To find out more, we have a blog on this topic, here. Can asbestos containing materials be sold? No – it is illegal to supply any ACM, whether for money or free. If you require any further information about asbestos, disposing of asbestos, or require asbestos removal services, please get in touch today. DES are a licensed asbestos removal contractor based in the West Midlands, and we offer nationwide coverage for all asbestos removal services.