Now if you’re thinking this is Asbestos you can fry up in a pan with your bacon, you’ll be mistaken! Friable asbestos imposes the same dangerous risks as any form of the substance. However, it’s known as the most dangerous form of asbestos.
Friable asbestos in basic terms in a measurement of how likely an asbestos containing material will give off airborne fibres when disturbed. Potential high friable materials including some spray paint coatings, pipe insulation can cause detrimental damage to a person’s health when disturbed and therefore should be monitored and taken care of in the appropriate manner.
As Asbestos cannot be seen with the naked eye, if you believe asbestos has been disturbed it is vital all employees should disperse from the area immediately. If inhaled, the microscopic asbestos fibres will cause scaring to the lungs that can develop into long term health issues including cancers such as asbestosis or Mesothelioma.
Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to asbestos as it can be present on properties that were built before the year 2000. Homeowners are also placed in the same dangerous situation as the disturbance of building materials containing asbestos can be released into the surrounding air. According to multiple recent UK statistics, there has been over 5000 reported asbestos fatalities this year alone.
Where could friable asbestos be found on a property?
Asbestos was utilised in a number of ways before its complete ban in 1999. Keeping our focus on building materials these are the most common friable materials in the UK:
Asbestos was used in products before it’s official ban in 1999. Construction workers would use it anything from pipe laggings to even toilet seats! Here is a list of what might still contain asbestos on construction sites or buildings build before 1999.
- Asbestos Insulating Board ceiling tiles and wall linings,
- Thermal Insulation such as pipe work or spray coatings.
- Some Exterior Cladding, soffits or external panels,
- Asbestos cement sheets, pipes and panels
- Flooring materials
Emergency steps to take if you suspect asbestos has been disturbed on your premises
- Do not try and clean up the disturbed asbestos.
- Leave the area immediately.
- Get everyone out of the suspected area to reduce exposure.
- Place some form of signage to signal the dangers to outsiders.
- Contact your Asbestos Consultant / Surveyor
- Let SAMS know and we will give you advice on what to do next.
Things NOT to do:
- Do not re-enter the suspected dangerous area, as any exposure can be health threatening.
- No sweeping the area or brushing the disturbed asbestos as disturbing the fibres further will cause more contamination and can be detrimental to your health.
- Do not hoover the area. Hoovering is just as bad as sweeping and will cause more of a disturbance and contaminate the air further.
If you are unsure about what to do if you have found asbestos, then call SAMS and we will appoint you to one of our health and safety advisors.