Asbestos may be out of sight but it should never be out of mind

Acorn Analytical Services is raising awareness of asbestos

WITH construction methods advancing all the time its easy to think of asbestos as a building material which has long been consigned to the history books.

Used extensively in post-war Britain, as a cheap building material known primarily for its fire-retardant properties, asbestos was central to the rebuilding of the UK used in many public buildings including hospitals, factories and schools during the 1950s and 1960s.

While its use was banned in new buildings in 1999, the legacy of Britain’s relationship with asbestos remains, with statistics from the Health and Safety Executive showing that more than 5,000 people dying from asbestos-related lung conditions – including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis – every year.

As we mark Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we’re aiming to raise awareness of the hidden dangers of this potential killer, particularly among construction workers and those at greatest risk, while reminding others of their legal obligations to ensure people are kept safe.

Asbestos: Construction workers among those at greatest risk

It’s been known for many years that risks of exposure to asbestos remain high in those involved in the construction industry, particularly carpenters, roofers, painters, decorators and electricians.

With younger people now also joining the industry – many of whom have never even heard of it or are aware of its dangers – the risk of accidentally damaging asbestos is high and something which needs to be eradicated.

With that in mind, earlier this year, Acorn Analytical Services got involved in a new initiative aimed at educating the next generation of construction workers. In partnership with Northampton College, we delivered a training session to the construction workers of the future, explaining more about where it is most likely to be found and how it can be avoided.

Elsewhere, we organise training for professionals – including architects – to ensure asbestos comes first – and not last in any construction projects.

Asbestos: The law and you

If you are the building owner, a landlord, or are responsible for a building’s maintenance or repair, you are the dutyholder and have a legal duty to manage asbestos in a building.

The role of the dutyholder is to protect people from the risks of exposure including people who work within the building or use them in other ways. It is also the dutyholder’s responsibility to assess if there any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

For the vast majority of people, it can be difficult to know where it might be found, is or what it looks like which is where Acorn Analytical Services comes in. The important thing is to contact a professional if you are unsure about whether or not you have asbestos to avoid putting yourself at risk of exposure.

The first step is often a survey which is carried out by a trained professional, who will pay particular attention to areas where it is commonly found including roofspaces, pipework and boilers.

If asbestos is found, Acorn Analytical Services can help to arrange any remedial work which may be necessary or give professional advice and support to ensure it is properly maintained.

While it might be out of sight it should never be out of mind – if you are ever in any doubt and are in need of our professional support, please contact us as soon as possible for more information and confidential advice.

Acorn is a professional consultancy helping organisations deal with compliance using surveysair testing, and removal management. 

Please call a member of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice contact our friendly team today on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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