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Breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases, such as cancers of the lungs and chest, for which there is currently no cure.
If the asbestos is in good condition and is not being, or going to be, disturbed or damaged, there is no risk. If it is disturbed or damaged, it can be a danger to health, because asbestos fibres will be released into the air and breathed in.
Electricians or decorators working on your premises that drill, saw or cut material could potentially create a risk to themselves and others.
You are most likely to come across asbestos in these materials:
It is safer to assume that a material contains asbestos, unless there is strong evidence that it does not.
Employers have a duty to:
A competent person can do some of this work, for example identification of the material. However, the employer has to be involved in the overall assessment of the potential risk, as it is the employer who will know how the premises are used, and what disturbance is likely to occur.
Only competent people such as laboratory analysts, suitably trained building surveyors or specialist asbestos removal contractors should conduct surveys.
A survey will identify what type of asbestos is present and where it is. The risk assessment must also account for:
A good strategy to manage asbestos-containing materials will help to prevent risk to workers or others who may use the premises, such as contractors and members of the public.