Mesothelioma -Do You Know Enough About this Deadly Disease?
Asbestos contains tiny fibres which are too small for the eye to see, yet they can do great damage to the lungs if breathed in. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung and is just one of the diseases associated with the material. The latency period for symptoms of the disease can be long – often 10 or more years – and there is currently no cure.
5 Key Points for Managing Asbestos
- Asbestos could be present in any building either built or refurbished before the year 2000. Check building and renovation plans if you are unsure, as well as any asbestos surveys undertaken. Ceiling and floor tiles, older boilers, lagging and asbestos cement are often key areas to look at.
- The material only poses a significant risk to health if it is accessible and in a poor or damaged condition. It is therefore important that you know what type of asbestos you have and the condition it is in.
- Those most at risk are people who work on the fabric of the building – carpenters, plumbers, electricians and builders, for example, as well as any maintenance staff on site. There is therefore a duty to tell those who may be on your premises about any asbestos in the building before they undertake work. You should do this before they carry out a risk assessment/method statement so that all risks and control measures are factored in.
- Some work with asbestos – either removing it or working with it – may require a licensed asbestos contractor. Check that any contractors you use have the correct licence to do the work.
- Making others aware of the existence of asbestos is vital. As a visual prompt, label your asbestos with industry-recognised stickers so that it is clear that asbestos is in the vicinity should anyone be undertaking work in the area.
Asbestos is a killer and any amount of exposure can be dangerous – preventing exposure is therefore the key to limiting the number who develop asbestos-related diseases. Protect your staff, contractors and visitors so they never have to suffer.