Recent evidence has come to the light that suggests that some of the people most at risk of asbestos exposure are those carrying out DIY at home. In the past, miners and transport workers were some of the most likely to develop asbestos-related diseases, but as protection from asbestos has become an important issue for workers, it’s now those people who might not realise that they are coming into contact with the substance who are most at risk.

If you like to get on with home DIY it is important that you understand the dangers of asbestos and how much to minimise your exposure to it.

Why is DIY a risk?

Asbestos can be found in almost any building built before 1999 so you might think that people going to work in buildings that contain asbestos are most at risk. However, stringent regulations have been put in place to ensure that employers minimise the risk for their staff. Employers and building owners are required to have a plan in place and make it as unlikely as possible that the people working for them will come into contact with asbestos.

In your own home there are no specific regulations and as such it is down to you to take the appropriate precautions. It’s sadly the case that if there is asbestos present in your home and you start carrying out DIY work it can disturb the material. Asbestos is only dangerous when the material is disturbed and fibres can get into the air.

So, when people carry out DIY without taking due care they can unwittingly release the asbestos where they can breathe it in.

What you can do to avoid exposure

The first and most obvious thing you can do to avoid any risk of asbestos exposure during your DIY is to have you home professionally surveyed. Before you get started on any work that will involve destructive elements such as drilling or removing walls you should get in contact with an asbestos specialist to check that it is safe for you to work.

It’s also vital that you should never attempt to remove asbestos on your own. This is a highly dangerous task and should only be performed by those with the relevant training and experience.