Tag: asbestos removal

Building Consultants Asbestos Fine

Danger sign for asbestos

Asbestos is Dangerous

Building consultants, Watts Group PLC were prosecuted and fined £30,000, plus costs in January 2016 for health and safety breaches that allowed two construction workers to be exposed to asbestos.

The group was the asbestos removal project manager and surveyed for asbestos prior to replacement of doors in a service duct below a hospital. They drew up plans showing where asbestos was present and where it had been removed. The survey, however was defective and asbestos in poor condition was present throughout the area but not shown on the plans.

It is vital to health and also to comply with legal requirements that the correct type of asbestos survey is carried out systematically and results recorded. Information on where to find asbestos can be found on the HSE website.

Persons responsible for managing premises such as shops or industrial units have a duty to manage asbestos. You can find out more about that at HSENI’s ‘Duty to manage asbestos’ page

Asbestos Dangers



Chrysotile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral material that is still found in many buildings, especially older ones. It is a good insulating material but is linked to causing very serious health problems for people, including cancer, so is rarely used in the construction industry nowadays. In many countries, it is illegal to use it any more but it sometimes has to be removed from facilities where it was installed previously.

There are several forms of asbestos and some are more dangerous than others, with chrysotile appearing to be the most dangerous form. Those working in areas with this type of asbestos or living near production facilities using it have developed health problems, especially lung problems and tumors. Asbestos consists of many small fibers that can become airborne when the asbestos is disturbed and are then breathed in, causing various illnesses. Some people have become so ill due to their exposure to asbestos that they are unable to go about their normal life and this has resulted in lawsuits from workers who believe that their health was not properly protected even though the dangers were known about.

Fiberglass has replaced asbestos in many areas now. It is a good insulating material also. Removing asbestos from buildings and replacing it with new materials is very costly and time consuming. Those involved in the process have to wear protective clothing to help prevent the harmful fibers from getting into their bodies.

Asbestos & Mesothelioma

English: Mesothelioma of the left lower lung.

English: Mesothelioma of the left lower lung. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. It has a very poor prognosis (outlook) and most people diagnosed as having it are likely to die from it, either directly or from the effect it has on their other vital organs. It affects the cells lining the lung area as well as the chest cavity and promotes the growth of tumors in these areas, some of which (though not necessarily all) may be cancerous.

For some people, it takes only a single exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma, while others are exposed to it for many years before being affected. And it can take many years for mesothelioma to develop – as long as 20 years between exposure and development of the illness. It is this illness that means that construction or building workers must assess whether asbestos is present before they begin any remodeling or destruction of an existing building. You can find help on mesothelioma on this site.

Asbestos Testing

In order to determine if asbestos is present in a given location the materials have to be tested. They are collected and then sent to a laboratory for the testing to be completed. If the tests are positive then measures are taken to secure the area until the removal or encapsulation process can be implemented and completed. For many people, knowing where to look for asbestos is very important too. In older homes you may not even realize it is a factor to be concerned about.

Fuse Box with asbestos

Fuse Box with asbestos (Photo credit: sarflondondunc)

Asbestos was once very popular as a type of insulation, so anywhere using insulation is the first place that someone testing for asbestos is likely to take test samples from. They will also look into any heat ducts, the fireplace, around wiring housing, the furnace, and around plumbing pipes. Any workers should wear protective gear as a precaution while searching for collection samples.

Only trained professionals should be used to assess whether asbestos is present: they will know where and what to look for. The general homeowner doesn’t usually have this knowledge or the training. Your local health department or building services department may be able to provide a list of professionals in your area to carry out this work for you.

There are many different times when you may decide to do asbestos testing. If you live in a home that was built before 1980 it may not have been tested before. Finding out if you have asbestos in the area or not can give you peace of mind. You certainly don’t want to risk exposing your family to the harmful effects. You also don’t want to lie awake at night wondering if it is present or not.

You will also need to complete an asbestos test before you begin any type of remodeling or if you are tearing down something. These types of activities can loosen the fibers associated with asbestos and make them airborne as dust. This is when they are most dangerous and this is why asbestos is often kept damp if it becomes necessary to remove it.

Asbestos Removal

English: Worker are removing asbestos before d...

English: Worker are removing asbestos before demolishing the Imperial Courtyard Apartments in Irving, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since asbestos can be so very dangerous for both people and animals, it has to be either covered up or removed and replaced with other types of materials such as fiberglass. The first option is to cover it, if possible (e.g by encapsulation) but if it cannot be safely covered, then it may need to be removed in a safe manner and this may even involve you having to move out for a few days. This is important so that residents don’t end up becoming ill from any airborne fibers.

Generally, a person has to be certified in asbestos removal to be able to perform the duties. There are plenty of well trained contractors out there with the right training. They also have all the safety equipment to do the job properly without putting their own health at risk.

The process has to be systematic so that as few fibers are broken loose during it as possible. It is the many fine fibers in asbestos that are responsible for the medical problems so the asbestos may be wetted down to help reduce the amount of fibers and dust that get loose into the area.

Once the asbestos is removed it has to be stored properly as well. There are special containers made for it that won’t leak the asbestos out into the environment. They are classified as a container for hazardous materials so that anyone coming upon them will know that what is inside could potentially be harmful.

In many locations, the collected containers of asbestos are buried in landfills. In other areas, asbestos can be dumped ONLY at licensed dumps for such hazardous waste. An asbestos removal professional will know the regulations for your area. Many areas will impose hefty fines and even jail time for not properly disposing of asbestos. This is due to the many health concerns related to it.

Asbestos can be a dangerous material, although it has been very useful in the past for insulation. If you discover it in your house, or if you want to do construction work on an older house, you would be well-advised to get a trained and qualified asbestos professional to assess any problem and advise on containment or removal.


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Asbestos Encapsulation

Asbestos Encapsulation

By Oregon Department of Transportation – Asbestos abatementUploaded by Smallman12q, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24374857

Asbestos is extremely toxic if inhaled. It can eventually lead to a debilitating illness called asbestosis, which eventually leads to a rather nasty death. Other illnesses it can cause are gastric cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma and emphysema. The material is now banned in most countries and over the last 20 years has been removed from as many buildings as possible. Removal is not a simple process though and can cost a lot of money as well as being highly dangerous if the dust gets into the air.

Due to the design of some buildings, especially those with asbestos concrete, it may be impossible to remove it in some cases, and sometimes removal is just too dangerous. To solve both of these issues, asbestos encapsulation was developed. This is a process of encasing the asbestos in a safety cover to ensure it is sealed away for the life of the building.

By locking away the asbestos it means that none of it can sustain damage in the future and this ensures that none of the dangerous particles escape to the atmosphere. One additional benefit of doing it this way is that the fire retardant advantages of asbestos itself remain in place. The final benefit is that the cost of doing it this way is much cheaper than having it removed.

This process of encapsulation should be done by fully qualified professionals who know what they are doing, it is no good employing just anyone to do it as this is likely to cause more problems in the future, and unless they have been specifically trained for this job then whatever work they do is likely to be incorrect, as well as illegal in some countries.

Covering asbestos is now regarded as the safest way of dealing with it, however not everything can be covered using this technique. Things like pipes can corrode over time, and if they contain asbestos then they will need to be replaced as that is the best option.

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Removing Asbestos

What You Should Know About Asbestos Removal

English: This is a typical asbestos enclosure ...

English: This is a typical asbestos enclosure constructed by Trinitas Contracts in the UK for the removal of asbestos sprayed coating from beams. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve found out that your home has asbestos, what are you going to do? Asbestos was used in many homes over the years as it was fire and chemical retardant. Although it would have seemed like a good choice because of those reasons, asbestos has now been found to cause respiratory and lung problems. Because of the popularity of asbestos in building over the years, many older buildings and homes may have asbestos in them. If your home has asbestos in it, you will need to have it assessed for risk. In most cases, it is best to leave it in place and possibly encapsulate it but in some cases, you may need to properly remove it to prevent health problems for you and your family.

When asbestos needs to be removed, it requires a professional asbestos removal team. You should NOT try doing it yourself. If you were to choose to remove the asbestos yourself, you could be breaking the law (in the United Kingdom anyway) and it could end up more costly than having the professionals do it. If you have to have asbestos removed, you should however, have a sample taken (by a qualified asbestos professional) to have it tested to make sure that asbestos is actually present in your home before you start arranging for professional removal.

What do the Professionals do?
Professional asbestos removal companies will know what the country, state or federal regulations are for removing asbestos. They will have or will obtain the necessary permits for asbestos removal in your area. These permits tell them how to handle the removal process, and should also designate a safe disposal area. When they are ready to begin your asbestos removal, the removals people will have a proper system for breathing. Breathing asbestos is very bad for you (it can cause a form of cancer) therefore they need to have a form of breathing ventilation system.They also wear protective clothing that can be disposed of after the work is complete.

It is illegal, in many places, to hire anyone to remove asbestos if they are not professionally qualified and registered. Asbestos needs to be kept wet at all times during its removal as, when asbestos is wet, the fibers will stay in place and won’t become airborne. As the removal proceeds, the removed asbestos is put into sealed storage containers, which will then be taken to a landfill designated to handle asbestos disposal.

Removing asbestos is a long, potentially harmful process. It must be handled with a lot of care as you do not want to cause any health problems for yourself, family, or anyone around. If you need to remove asbestos you MUST contact professionals that specialize in asbestos removal.

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