Asbestos is not one of the first things that come to mind when running a business. And yet, there are many businesses, some even large corporations and major high street retailers that can be, and have been hit with a huge fine for failing to protect its customers and employees from asbestos. They could have avoided this by simply recognising 3 wrong beliefs that they had about asbestos. This article will list the 3 myths so that your business doesn’t fall into the trap of not treating asbestos properly.
Myth #1: Asbestos isn’t that important
Wrong! As the primary cause of Mesothelioma – a malignant cancer of the lungs – the proper handling
of this naturally occurring fibrous insulating material is extremely important. If a business does not take all steps to prevent the deadly fibres being released into their stores, it’s because managers may fear that the work to remove the asbestos would be “unsightly” and actually slow down business, which would be ironic if they were hit with a hefty fine!
Myth #2: Asbestos doesn’t affect our business
Asbestos is commonly seen as a third world problem, or a health concern of those involved in building and trade professions. In fact every week, an average of 20 tradesmen (e.g. plumbers, electricians, joiners) die from exposure to asbestos.
However, any building built before 2000 can contain asbestos. And whilst asbestos materials in good condition are safe, they are extremely dangerous and life threatening when the asbestos fibres become airborne.
So if you own a building built before 2000, then you have an asbestos issue that you are legally responsible for managing.
Myth #3: Dealing with asbestos is somebody else’s responsibility
Under the Health and Safety Act 1974, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your employees and customers who frequent your premises. This responsibility includes managing safe asbestos removal from your premises. Businesses cannot shift the blame onto the contractors because they have a “duty of care” to oversee the safe completion of the work.
An easy way to deal with your asbestos problem
Even though dealing with asbestos is your legal responsibility, the good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own. You can work with industry specialists and professionals who can provide thorough asbestos surveying and safe disposal of asbestos.
This post was written by Junk4Joy, Wales' leading junk and clutter removal service serving South Wales and the West of England, including Bristol, Newport and Cardiff. Recycling and waste disposal company, Junk4Joy, has the resources to transfer and dispose of all types of junk at an unbeatable price.
Used in the past as a common part of construction materials, asbestos continues to pose major risks to human health and the environment. Once it was discovered that it caused health problems, products that contained asbestos were discontinued, but the risks remain. Read on to learn more about asbestos and the damage it can do.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a silicon-based mineral that is found in various locations around the world. Some common types of asbestos are chrystotile, amosite and crocidolite, but the material is known generically as asbestos because for a long time, the worlds largest mine was located in the town of Asbestos in Quebec, Canada.
In the past, asbestos was used in all sorts of construction materials. Because it has flame-retardant qualities, it was often found around the heating systems of buildings, such as casings for hot water pipes, roofing shingles, insulation, vinyl floors, and ceiling tiles. It was also used in brake pads and clutch discs in cars.
However, when asbestos was found to be linked with several serious diseases, most of the Western world banned its use in construction and household materials in the early 1980's. But many buildings that predate this period may still contain asbestos.
Asbestos has been linked to a number of serious medical conditions. These all affect the lungs and respiratory system. That is because asbestos is made of tiny fibres that, when released into the air can settle inside the lungs and irritate the tissues in the chest cavity.
This irritation can cause a whole host of unsavoury medical conditions. Perhaps the most serious is mesothelioma, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer that affects the tissues lining the chest cavity. For this reason, asbestos is classified as a carcinogen. In fact, the connection between mesothelioma and asbestos is so obvious that individuals have won asbestos compensation because they were exposed to this toxic agent through an occupational setting.
Besides personal health, asbestos has a negative impact on the environment. A study presented in 2006 at the international conference Health, The Environment and Justice found that asbestos dust can easily travel through the air into the water supply. It can also settle on the surface of the soil instead of getting absorbed into the ground, which means that it can still get picked up by the wind and inhaled into human lungs.
The study found that countries with a history of production and consumption of asbestos showed high incidence levels of asbestos-related diseases and pronounced levels of asbestos particles in the environment. This shows that asbestos can pose significant risk even after it has been banned in the countries featured in the study.
What You Can Do
If you are living or working in a building that was built during the 1970s, parts of it may contain asbestos. But this is not necessarily cause for worry. You should only be concerned if any part of the building is deteriorating or otherwise damaged. Once the material is damaged, the asbestos fibres can enter the air and either enter the lungs or seep into the water supply.
If you notice any damage, the next step is to section off the surrounding area to prevent others from encountering the asbestos dust. Then, make sure to contact a professional who has been certified to remove asbestos and has the proper protective equipment. This individual can ensure that all harmful substances are removed and that there is no lingering risk to you or the environment.