We appreciate that there are many questions people have about asbestos, unfortunately, we can't provide all the answers on here, but we are happy to answer questions directly, so why not contact us and ask away...
Update: this list is growing pretty rapidly. We are looking at a way of accessing this where it will be searchable, bear with us, we'll get there....
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral found throughout the world. Due to its fibrous nature and amazing properties, it became widely used in construction and other man-made materials, pieces of equipment, domestic appliances, vehicles, etc.
Is asbestos dangerous?
Yes, potentially. Exposure to asbestos can result in people contracting numerous diseases, some of which can be fatal. There are currently over 5000 deaths per year in the UK due to previous exposure to asbestos.
Is this asbestos?
The regulations of the United Kingdom (CAR 12) states (Regulation 5) that if you're not sure if a material contains asbestos, then it should be presumed to be asbestos unless there is proof that it isn't asbestos. So the short answer is yes, it is.
To find out, you can have the material analysed by a UKAS accredited laboratory, this analysis will give you the proof you need. Alternatively, just presume it is and go from there, but that could be an expensive route to follow, especially if it needs to be removed or worked on. NB clicking on the UKAS name will take you to the UKAS website where you can search for accredited analytical companies, alternatively, contact us, we may be able to assist.
Can you help me with my asbestos?
Yes, we offer free, impartial and independent advice on what to do with your asbestos, or suspected asbestos. Although we do not remove it ourselves, or provide analytical services, we have contacts throughout Europe who can assist you, and we only recommend the best.
Do I need asbestos training?
The real question would be, why aren’t you trained? On-line Asbestos Awareness training can be undertaken for as little as £18, discounts are available for bulk purchases. If you have ANY risk of exposure to asbestos, this would be the best recommended course of action, and depending on you job, it may even be a legal requirement.
Do i have to have an asbestos survey?
The short answer is no. The regulations, CAR12, requires that you to manage your asbestos, the best way to do this is to know where it is, you could engage a competent surveyor, you could look at historic plans, speak with your caretaker/maintenance department but then, can you rely on their information? or just assume everything is asbestos, but that could result in some very expensive management solutions.
Remember, the legal requirement is to MANAGE asbestos.
So you have a survey, what now?
As above, you now need to manage your asbestos, so what could you do? set up permit to work, protect it, enclose, encase, label, paint, encapsulate, restrict access, periodic inspections, remove it... BIACS offer you a low cost solution to your asbestos management, either through our bespoke QR Management software, or by working with our I.A.M.Safe programme.
Do me a favour, don't just stick your survey on a shelf or in a draw, it is the start of your asbestos management programme, read it, use it, don't ignore it, after all, you;ve paid for it.
I only need to drill into Artex containing asbestos, do I still need training?
Yes, drilling, sanding, cutting, removing, in fact any level of interaction with asbestos or even presumed asbestos requires training, correct insurance, procedures etc. Some works may notifiable, and may also require a Licence which are issued by the HSE, contact us for further advice.
Choosing a surveyor.
Choose wisely. Remember, you're paying good money for a good service. You're asking someone who has probably never even seen your building to come in and find something that you didn't know you had.
A good surveyor will ask you questions before they even arrive on site, such as, how old is your building, are you planing works, do you have building plans, are there any restrictions, confined spaces, working at heights, vulnerable occupants, etc.This is part of the "desktop study".
Ask them questions, will what they do cause disruption, are they going to need access assistance such as for lift shafts, electrical equipment, are they going to repair and seal the sample areas, are they going to take samples, etc.
Be aware though, price isn't everything, the lowest price may end up costing you more. Contact us for more advice on surveyor selection.
Are asbestos floor tile dangerous?
Thermoplastic and vinyl floor tiles, including some older linoleum materials can often contain asbestos, sometimes up to 25% asbestos content. Floor tile and linoleum may also have an asbestos paper lining beneath them, this paper could be 100% asbestos in content. Floor tiles are also often adhered to the floor using asbestos containing adhesive.
The risk of fibre release is normally very low, even when the tiles are loose or fragmented.
This doesn't mean they are safe, but they are considered as a low risk material. Ordinarily, it would take severe damaged, high abrasion, grinding, sanding etc to release fibres of any notable or concerning level.
Where possible, tiles should be removed however they can be overlaid, a record of their condition, location and extent kept and anyone who may disturb them, even just drilling through them should be advised of their presence. To work on these tiles, strict procedures should be followed, see HSG210. A23.
How do I know if something is or contains asbestos?
Asbestos has been used in thousands of materials and products. Some are more recognisable, some not so. The best way to find out is to have the material safely sampled and tested, alternatively, you can assume that they do contain asbestos.
I know, same as above but i get asked this alot!!
Should my landlord tell me about asbestos in my home?
This is a bit of a strange thing, ideally yes, but the law kind of doesn't cover domestic dwellings in the way it covers other 'commercial' premises or communal areas of non-domestic premises. Contact us for clearer advice on what to do in rented accommodation. The advice we give is free, based on best practice, regulations and law.
"I had an asbestos survey carried out some years ago, do i need another?"
It depends on the level/type of survey originally carried out and if you intend to have work carried out at the premises. If its' just to allow the safe and correct management of asbestos then your original survey may be suitable and fit for purpose. BIACS do offer a survey review service, here we can assess the content of the report, see what needs doing, if anything, and then direct you onto the correct path to compliance.
"I believe I have been exposed to asbestos, should i be worried?"
Exposure to asbestos can cause fatal diseases. Diseases tend to develop following prolonged, high level exposure however it must be stated that even short term exposure can present serious issues. Your first cause of action following exposure is to get it recorded. The best way to do this is to speak to your GP. They are ideally positioned to offer you the best advice and can enter the exposure details on your medical records so that if you develop symptoms later in life, the entry on your records may assist in developing a course of action/treatment.
"if i need to work on asbestos can i just follow on of the HSG task sheets?"
You can follow one of the HSG210 task sheets, they were created by the HSE for that very purpose, however these task sheets are not standalone documents. You would also need to observe and follow the EM sheets, carry out a suitable risk assessment, arrange for disposal of the waste, including the PPE and RPE being used, have correct insurance, etc. SO as simple as it may seem, there are procedures to follow. Contact us for more advice.