Asbestos could be hiding in any UK property that was built before 1999 as it was widely used for a range of purposes for many years. So the chances are that at some point you might have to deal with it, whether that’s within your own home or at work premises. Encountering asbestos for the first time can be daunting, as many people are aware that the substance is dangerous but don’t know the specifics. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of asbestos to give you a quick overview.
DO leave it alone
If you’ve got asbestos on your property or you suspect that a suspicious material contains asbestos, the safest course of actions is always to leave it alone. Asbestos has some very scary health implications, but these are only relevant when asbestos has become disturbed and the fibres have been breathed into the lungs.
DON’T assume it can’t be asbestos
One of the most common mistakes that people make with asbestos is that they assume that the material in question can’t contain asbestos. This is usually either because they believe the building is too new or asbestos would be visible.
Firstly, it should be noted that asbestos was only officially banned in the UK in 1999, which means that any property that was built before this date could contain asbestos. Secondly, asbestos is often mixed in with other materials which makes it impossible to tell simply by looking at it whether it contains asbestos.
DO stop and ask if you’re worried about a specific material
If you’re concerned about a specific material in your home or workplace, then make sure that you take the time to ask someone. If you’re at work, ask a supervisor or the owner of the building about whether the material is asbestos.
DON’T try to remove asbestos yourself
Some people panic when they discover that there is asbestos in close proximity to them. This can lead them to think that the best course of action might be to simply dispose of the material as quickly as possible. However, this is a huge mistake. As previously mentioned, asbestos usually poses no threat to health when it is in good condition and has not been disturbed. It’s only when that material is disturbed – such as when an untrained person tries to remove it – that it can become dangerous.
DO keep activity in a suspected area to a minimum
If you know about asbestos then keep activity in that area to an absolute minimum. If the asbestos is indoors then you should close off the area – lock the door and put a warning note on it until it can be dealt with.
DON’T carry out any building work without proper testing
If you’re thinking of having building work completed, either at home or in the workplace, and you believe there is any chance that asbestos may be present, then it’s vital to have professional testing carried out. These tests can show you where asbestos is and make it possible to come up with a plan to reduce the risk of exposure.