You are on page 1of 55


By the end of the course you will be able to: Identify the 3 main types of asbestos

Identify the diseases caused by exposure to asbestos

Understand the increased risk for smokers

Identify some of the likely uses and locations for asbestos products in buildings Know how to avoid the risks from asbestos Explain the general emergency procedures should asbestos be discovered / disturbed

ASBESTOS is a Naturally occurring material 3 main types:

Chrysotile White Amosite Brown Crocidolite Blue
You cant identify the different types just from colour, as many Asbestos fibres are embedded in other substances

2 types of structure
Serpentine White is like a coarse cotton wool, or fluffy fibreglass, water loving and most commonly used. Amphiboles Brown and Blue long thin fibres, water hating

Versatile Hardwearing High tensile strength Very Good chemical, electrical and heat resistance Resistant to acids

Virtually indestructible

The general use of asbestos is now banned. Blue and Brown asbestos banned in 1985 White was banned in 1999

The Ancient Greeks used asbestos for wicks in lamps (they never burnt away) the name means


The Greeks did note a sickness in the lungs of slaves who wove asbestos into cloth The Romans used asbestos cloth napkins, which were cleaned by throwing them into the fire.
PPE you say Well theres a thong or a loin cloth, which one do you want?

Deposits of asbestos are found throughout the world

Russia (largest producer), Canada, South Africa, China still mine it!
Asbestos is extracted by open cast mining. It is crushed, processed and refined into a wool like fibrous mass

During the 1950s 1980s, hundreds of building products contained asbestos

Asbestos cement products were still in use until 1999 Use of asbestos products peaked in the Sixties and early Seventies

All types of asbestos are classed as carcinogens. There is no guaranteed safe exposure limit
Asbestos related diseases can take 15 60 years to develop following exposure to fibres The risk of adverse effects is much higher for smokers People with Asthma /genetic dispositions towards weaker lung conditions could be affected by much lower levels of fibres. Occupational Asthma/ other conditions - your lungs are made permanently ultra sensitive to any dust/ fibres from past repeated exposure.
Asbestos fibres break down splitting lengthways, creating far thinner fibres each time they split

Inhalation of fibres causes the most problems

The sharp micro fibres become lodged in lung tissue, cant be removed, and these scar the lung tissue.

If swallowed asbestos can cause cancer in the bowels

A damaged Old Asbestos water tank, a water shortage - who gets the last cup of water?!

Asbestos fibres cannot be absorbed through the skin, by contact, settlement of dust or by rubbing off dust with your hands A fall on a shard of Asbestos could see fibres piercing the skin into an injury area Asbestos fibres can irritate the eyes, could become lodged in the soft tissue of your tear ducts, etc (wear glasses)


Normal lung function:

The hairs (cilia) in the throat and Trachea lift food, dust, and phlegm up from the lungs 24/7 for us. It takes 24 hours for the hairs to move a piece of food debris back up to the throat, for us to cough it out or swallow it. Our immune system uses white blood cells to seek out an destroy the Asbestos fibres, swallowing them and taking them away from irritated areas of our lungs.

Smoking paralyses the tiny hairs in the throat and down into the lung structure, eventually smoke kills these hairs. Smokers no longer have an automatic back up system to remove all the rubbish from building up in their lungs Smokers lungs become desensitise to smoke & particles, the immune system doesnt send as many white blood cells to clean up the mess


Pathway of Asbestos fibres through the body

Fibre encapsulated at rib



Outer pleural membrane

Inner pleural membrane


Path of Asbestos fibres


Main diseases are:

Asbestosis Mesothelioma

Lung cancer Pleural Plaques

Scarring of lung tissues, caused by fibres reaching the alveoli This results in permanent scarring, reduced lung capacity and increased risk of lung cancer Symptoms include extreme shortness of breath Lung function lost, is never recovered Not always fatal but extremely debilitating


Lung Cancer
Cancerous tumours in lung tissue Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing (up blood) Nearly always fatal -28% survival rate in the 1st year!

Cancerous cells form on the membranes covering the internal organs. Most commonly on the pleura covering lungs, then spreading everywhere. Cancerous growth inhibits normal lung tissue function Symptoms: shortness of breath, cough, pain in chest Rapid, Very aggressive mutation and growth of cancer Always fatal life expectancy 6 24 months from diagnosis


Pleural Plaques
Fibres lodged in the lung tissue push through and scratch the inside of the pleural membrane. This causes inflammation and areas of scarring Restricts breathing through sharp stabbing pains on inhaling Non fatal, - but causes a lot of pain and discomfort Claiming any compensation for this is very hard

Less common disease linked with asbestos exposure include: Cancer of larynx Asbestos warts Pleural thickening


The Asbestos minerals are created by the intense heat and pressure of volcanic / tectonic activity. Volcanoes, Earth quakes, Landslides and Erosion have released asbestos fibres into the atmosphere since man has been around. In general our bodys are able to cope with the natural level of exposure from nature, we have evolved with this.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance Everyone is exposed to very small numbers of fibres all the time. Normal Background levels are 0.000001 0.0001 fibres/ml. That means 1 asbestos fibre or less in every 10 Litres of air

One fibre is smaller than a 50th of the thickness an eyelash

Fibres are so small and so light, that they can remain suspended and free floating in the air for 10 hours or more

Opening a window after disturbing asbestos, The fibres will be continually agitated to remain in the air.


Asbestos Levels
Natural levels This equates to approximately one asbestos fibre or less in every 10 Litres of air The equivalent of less than one fibre in a bucket!

Friable: very easy to become and stay airborne

Un-natural levels The Control limit for asbestos exposure is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3). Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012
The equivalent of 1000 asbestos fibres in a bucket


People can only be exposed to asbestos


The Asbestos material is disturbed or damaged Asbestos fibres are made airborne You breathe in the Asbestos fibres You ingest the Asbestos fibres

YOUR risk of ill health or death is determined by:

The The The The Concentration Duration Number Level of fibres in the air of an exposure of exposures you have of respiratory protection you wear


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)

Employers duties:
Have a written Health and Safety policy Maintain safe workplace - with safe access and egress Provide and maintain machinery and equipment, Safe Systems of Work, and PPE, to minimise risks to health Ensure Safe use, handling storage and transportation of substances Provide: information, instruction, training and supervision


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Employees Duties:
Take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions or omissions. Co-operate with employer to enable them to comply with their statutory requirements Do not misuse anything provided under a statutory requirement in the interests of health and safety at work


Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Employers must:
Assess Hazards and Risks to employees and others affected by their working Record the findings Ensure employees are told of the risks involved in their work and the precautions required to control the risks Review assessments regularly to ensure they remain relevant

Employees must:
Follow training, & instructions, use precautions & PPE protective equipment provided.


Brings together 3 previous sets of legislation:

Prohibition and the Control of asbestos at work and licensed asbestos Working Bans the use of White, Brown and Blue asbestos + the second hand use of asbestos products (e.g. asbestos cement sheets) To increase employer and employee awareness to the presence of asbestos

+ the risks from work with asbestos

Requires duty holders to manage asbestos properly in non domestic properties:

Asbestos management plan Asbestos register for building


Regulation 10 requires employers to provide:

Information, instruction and training to all employees likely to be exposed to asbestos, Not just asbestos removal workers

3 levels of training:
Asbestos awareness the course you are undertaking now Non licensed asbestos removal Licensed asbestos removal Asbestos Awareness training is listed in the HSE Approved Code of Practice.


UPDATED Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Introduces stringent standards of worker protection:

Where work is carried out which may disturb asbestos employers are required to prevent exposure and spread of asbestos

Worker exposure must not exceed the Control Limit of 0.1 fibres per cm3 RPE must be worn, but the work must still be arranged to prevent the release of fibres.

See Approved Codes of Practice and HSE Guidance:

Tell us how to put the law into practice Management of asbestos in non domestic premises L127 Work with materials containing asbestos L143 Asbestos Essentials HSG210

* * All available on the HSE website24

Asbestos Kills: Protect Yourself INDG419*

General maintenance staff Electricians Plumbers Gas Fitters Lift engineers Painters and Decorators Joiners Plasterers Shop fitters Architects, building surveyors

Demolition Workers Construction Workers Roofers Heating and Ventilation Engineers Telecommunications Engineers Fire and Burglar Alarm Installers Computer Installers


Insulating Board
Structural fire protection on steel work, behind radiators and boilers, inside doors Also used for acoustic insulation, lining, ceiling tiles, general building board (resists moisture ingress)

Up to 85% asbestos, semi compressed so very likely to give

off fibres if broken, drilled or sawn Only to be removed by a licensed contractor


Thermal insulation for pipes/boilers Common lagging up to 15% asbestos Quilts/blankets up to 100% asbestos Often has protective foil, paper or wire covering Only to be removed by a licensed contractor


Asbestos Cement Products

Roof sheets, flue pipes, guttering, down comers, roof tiles, permanent shuttering Only 10-15% asbestos (usually white asbestos) Fibres are tightly bound with Portland cement so unlikely to give off fibres unless badly damaged

Sheets should be removed whole and kept wet


Asbestos Containing Plastics

Floor tiles, stair nosings, sink pads, toilet seats and cisterns Can also find asbestos in the adhesive used with floor tiles Up to 25% asbestos Fibre release unlikely under normal use


Asbestos Rope and Cloth

Fire blankets, gaskets, cable insulation, flash guards Up to 100% asbestos Release of fibres depends on material All 3 types of asbestos used pre 1970

only Chrysotile (White) since 1970 to 1999



Sprayed Coatings
Used as fire protection and acoustic control for structural steelwork. Up to 85% asbestos Fibre is very friable easy to release if disturbed. It Can also degrade as it ages.


Textured Coatings
Commonly referred to as Artex. Low percentage of asbestos Fibres may be released if the material is drilled or sanded.


Asbestos Paper Products

Backing on fibre boards, floor tiles Covering on electrical equipment insulation, pipe insulation Damp proof course

External Building Panels

Asbestos boarding can be used for external cladding


Lift brakes

Asbestos gasket

Asbestos water tanks Asbestos Paper Lining


Old dust on pipes could be settled Asbestos fibres!!!



Vibration through large systems can keep fibres in the air permanently


Personal Protective Equipment

Asbestos removal operatives wear:

Disposable overalls (Type 5 Particle tight) Boots without laces, or boot covers Respiratory Protection

3 types of Respiratory Protective Equipment

Disposable respirators with Half Face Masks Full Face Masks

FFP3 filter


Sealed Fitting of RPE to face

Face masks need to fit snug to skin to seal Facial hair impacts the seal (Vaseline)

Significant Facial scars impact the seal Replace old masks/ Disposable masks regularly Replace Damaged masks Replace filters regularly
Any old mask, tea cloth, or hanky will not do!



Major refurbishment works must not start without a type 3 (fully intrusive) survey to determine the presence of asbestos Any asbestos in the work area should be removed/ protected or avoid contact/ impacting Premises should have Asbestos Registers look at them or ask the foreman where the asbestos is before starting work If you are working somewhere where asbestos may be discovered e.g. - pulling down ceilings, working in loft spaces,

under floors or demolishing walls Hidden asbestos

Wear disposable overalls and a FFP3 mask and eye protection as a precaution.




How much?

Surface coating


How easy is access?

Asbestos type


Material score

Priority score

Roof to garage Down-pipes to garage Asbestos cement Asbestos cement Whole roof 4x4 metres None

Fairly good
One broken

Difficult Medium

White? Dont know presumed

No sample

1 5 1 8 1 2 12 8

1 6.2 1 12 1 3 12 12


No sample

Plant room rear wall Plant room to old boiler B Site B8 Store Shed Briefing Facility 001 Bldg C60 Depot Transport C24 Depot Workshop board in closet Board in wall Board on wall Board panels Pipe insulation 43 sq metres 15 metres 2m Sq 1m sq Emulsion paint Gloss paint Emulsion paint Emulsion paint Gloss paint Emulsion paint

Good Cracked Good Cracked Broken Cracked

Easy Medium Difficult Difficult Easy Easy

Presumed Brown Chrysotile Chrysotile Amosite (Brown) Amosite (Brown)

No sample Bit that fell off analysed ref G02 Ref 2 (D14) Ref 2 (D14)

4m sq

Ref 7 (PFS)

6m sq



If Your work places you near Asbestos:

Wear appropriate PPE Do a Risk Assessment, decide the best way forward

Take pictures before you do anything

Consider other precautions/ barriers/ shielding If you can do your work without impacting the asbestos, keep aware for possible hidden risks

Double bag any waste/ old materials, e.g. old boilers Take pictures of the job when you are finished Always Mail/ send the pictures to your manager


Wet down suspected items, an atomiser spray will pull all forms of fibre to the ground with the water vapour

PVA glue will seal all forms of fibre/dust under the surface of the glue. (Dont dry brush dust off, wet down with spray and paint glue over this)

Paint/ Varnish, will seal all forms of fibre/dust under the surface of the Paint/ varnish. (dont dry brush, apply liberally over)


Myth 1: Cross head screws used to secure an item, means that there is little likelihood of Asbestos being present. Truth 1: There is no way of knowing if Asbestos is present by the type of screw head used. Who knows if these were replaced and the Asbestos left in place too? Myth 2: If you break it up out in the open air you are safer. Truth 2: It is not safe, wind direction changes, and you would have just created secondary exposure to others down wind of you!
Myth 3: If I wet down my clothes and wash them, the clothes will be fine to use again. (moderate to large exposure) Truth 3: Not True, the asbestos fibres are so fine, the could nestle in the weave of your clothing and resurface when dry. Myth 4: Truth 4:


If you discover or disturb asbestos

STOP work immediately Prevent access to the area Report your manager/ supervisor. Minimise spread of contamination to other areas Keep exposures as low as you can Clean up of contamination specialist works Change and Double Bag up any clothes/ overalls where Asbestos has been released READ HSE Asbestos Essentials Sheet EM1 gives directions


Do your kids cuddle you, as you come in from work?

Do you go the caf for food during the day?

Do you slap off the dust to your clothes /overalls out side the customers house?
Do you dump the work clothes by the washing machine to be washed? Do you walk through the customers house as you are?


Never undertake work which will impact stable ASBESTOS

If you are unable to work without coming into contact with ASBESTOS, PPE + redo your Risk Assessment first!

If you have a Risk of Breaking, Brushing, Scratching, Crushing, Drilling

ASBESTOS, then you should Reconsider your PPE requirements

Then decide if it is possible to protect/ cover/ seal the ASBESTOS product

before ANY works begins

If it is not possible for you to undertake your work without Cutting/ Drilling/ Breaking/ Scraping the ASBESTOS STOP and consult your line manager. Never impact stable ASBESTOS products

Stop Work Dont attempt to sweep/ clean the area Seal off the Area Remove overalls/ clothing/ boots Double Bag and Seal all clothing+ boots from others Report it immediately to your manager Change into clean overalls Wait for Manager to attend site/ or give advice Report your exposure to your GP (to record event) Clean up specialist to site/ removal team 4 stage Testing performed at site for all clear RIDDOR reporting process Revisit to S&B Risk assessments/ training and reporting

Your GP will record the event details For a major exposure:

X-ray Scans for lungs and airway, - long term Lung capacity test (Spirometry) short term


Asbestos suspect Items may not contain these signs!


Other substances irritating to airways

MDF is a wood composite material, primarily
softwood, bonded with a synthetic resin, which is usually formaldehyde-based. Although it has been commercially available since the 1960s, its use has become significant only in the last 2 decades.

MDF is currently being reviewed for it Carcinogenic

cancer producing properties. The wood content or the resins/ bonding agents have a potential to cause work induced hyper sensitivity of the airways, issues such as Emphysema and Asthma.


Cement and plaster are widely used in construction. Anyone who uses cement (or anything containing cement, such as mortar, plaster and concrete) or is responsible for managing its use should be aware that it presents a hazard to health.

This can cause Silicosis, fluid on the lungs, Pneumonia and Cancer.

High levels of dust can be produced when cement /plaster

is handled, for example when emptying or disposing of bags. In the short term, exposure to high levels of cement dust irritates the nose and throat.


and Safety Legislation Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 Uses of Asbestos Where Asbestos can be found in Buildings Who is at risk and Avoiding risk

Controlling Secondary exposure

Take pictures of the scene before and after PPE & RPE Emergency Procedures