Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that once was lauded for its versatility, recognized for its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties, and used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction. It was woven into fabric, and mixed with cement.
Its properties were so desired that the United States military mandated its use in every branch of service. Asbestos was a perfect blend to make things better – except it was highly toxic, too. Today asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, is banned in more than 50 countries, and its use has been dramatically restricted in others.
Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.
If you are a building owner, and/or are responsible for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises, you have a duty to manage any asbestos in that building. The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises including industrial and commercial buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices and shops. The duty also covers public buildings such as hospitals, schools, museums, libraries, leisure centres, churches and other religious buildings.
What you need to do as the dutyholder
- Find out if asbestos is present
- Make a record of the location, type and condition of the asbestos
- Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to the asbestos
- Prepare a plan on how to manage these risks
- Put the plan into action, monitor it and keep it up to date
- Provide this information to anyone who might work on or disturb the asbestos
Here at Trustwater we can help to take the uncertainty out of the issue. Our trained assessors can provide Risk Assessments including laboratory samples of any suspected materials to give you definitive answers to the presence of Asbestos.