Do you need to label asbestos?

Label asbestos

As an experienced multi-disciplined asbestos consultancy we are regularly asked by clients if they need to label their asbestos.

There is a misconception that asbestos has to be labelled but this is not the case. You don’t actually have to label asbestos but you do have to manage it.

In my mind, it is good practice to label asbestos because that acts as your last line of defence if all your other systems to prevent your asbestos being disturbed have broken down. When all else has failed it alerts contractors to the fact that the material they might be about to disturb is actually asbestos.

Are there places I shouldn’t label asbestos?

There are places where you may not want to label asbestos properly. Schools often don’t want to label their asbestos as unfortunately there have been cases where students have deliberately damaged asbestos in order to get their school to temporarily close.

Where might I always want to label asbestos?

We would suggest that you always label asbestos in plant rooms and boiler rooms. These rooms tend to be accessed regularly so it is vital that asbestos is clearly labelled in these rooms.

How should I label asbestos?

There are various ways to label your asbestos. You can have large labels, small labels, coloured labels etc. There are lots of ways to label asbestos, but we find the bigger and scarier, the better so it cannot be missed.

The tiny labels are terrible. Firstly, they don’t stick and secondly, they are so small you probably won’t see them. They have a small A on them and you need a magnifying glass to read them.

We recommend that clients use tri bands. These labels are multi-coloured and show three messages: ‘warning asbestos’ ‘do not disturb’ and ‘report any accidental damage.’ We place them in all back of house areas.

In public areas, we recommend you use a secret labelling system which includes symbols rather than words. Different symbols relate to different items where maintenance teams work. We are talking about squares, hexagons, coloured dots etc – they don’t mean anything to the public walking past but they keep people working onsite informed and warn them which items contain asbestos.

Some of our clients also choose to use labels which include reinspection information. This tells them when the asbestos was last surveyed and when it needs to be reinspected.

Where should I position my labels?

It is fairly obvious that most of the time you need to place your labels close to your asbestos products but sometimes you may need to consider placing your labels elsewhere. For example, we have seen companies laminate labels and place them high up on asbestos cement roofing. You cannot see those labels from the ground which makes them pointless. In this case you would be better to erect eye level wall signs, pointing upwards, so people can see them.

In summary

You don’t have to label your asbestos products but we would always recommend that you do, especially back of house. If you are worried about labelling asbestos in public areas introduce a secret labelling system to alert your contractors to the presence of asbestos on site. Whatever labelling you choose to use remember to ensure you have written procedures in place to form part of your asbestos management plan.

We’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or email info@acorn-as.com

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.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home?

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home? During the 20th century asbestos was used heavily by the UK’s construction industry and even though its use has been banned for more than two decades its legacy lives on in our homes, garages, workplaces and public buildings. … Read more

Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease

Rare Disease Day 2022

Did you know that Rare Disease Day is taking place on Monday? Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease and for their families and carers. More than 600 events will be taking place across the … Read more

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the HSE's approach to asbestos management

Asbestos management inquiry held by Government

Over the past few months, the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the approach of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to asbestos management in buildings. There are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, most of which can be found in more than 1.5 million buildings across … Read more

Plans to develop a derelict site - that was once home to the world’s largest asbestos firm - are expected to be lodged before the end of 2024.

Site of world’s largest asbestos firm to be redeveloped

In the past few weeks, it has emerged that plans to develop a derelict site – that was once home to the world’s largest asbestos firm – are expected to be lodged before the end of 2024. Specialist remediation company ESG Trading Limited, has bought 45-hectares of derelict land which once belonged to the former … Read more

Changes have come into force which will have an impact on the length of time it takes to successfully complete the Asbestos Removal Work 4 Stage Clearance process.

Changes to Asbestos Removal Work

This week changes have come into force which will have an impact on the length of time it takes to successfully complete the Asbestos Removal Work 4 Stage Clearance process. Asbestos 4 Stage Clearances independently verify that a client’s asbestos removal works have been completed correctly. During the clearance process, asbestos analysts are required to … Read more

It's estimated about 20% of the population of England and Wales use water supplies that have passed though asbestos cement pipework.

How safe are our water supplies from asbestos?

A few weeks ago, we read an interesting editorial about concerns that water supplies in America and Canada may contain asbestos. The opinion piece appeared in The Altamont Enterprise in Albany County, New York, and was called We shouldn’t play Russian roulette with our water supply. It raised concerns about a water main break in … Read more

Are you doing everything you can be to be asbestos-safe?

20 years after the use of asbestos was banned in the UK will we ever be asbestos-safe?

Have you ever considered if the UK will ever be asbestos-safe? Here at Acorn Analytical Services we are regularly asked by clients and friends if we think there is enough asbestos left in the country to see us out. Sadly, the answer is yes and not just us but generations to come. Any building built … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services director Ian Stone has worked in the asbestos industry for 20 years.

Acorn director has spent 20 years in asbestos industry fighting hidden killer

This month it is 20 years since Acorn Analytical Services director Ian Stone first entered the asbestos industry. We caught up with Ian to find out how his career in the asbestos industry began and what changes he has seen along the way. Ian, what made you want to join the asbestos industry? When I … Read more

How often do you wonder if you’re at risk from asbestos at home?

Is asbestos at home a worry for you?

How often do you wonder if you’re at risk from asbestos at home?  It’s probably not something that many people think about in their daily lives but frighteningly homes up and down the UK are riddled with asbestos. Asbestos can be found in a surprisingly high number of places throughout our homes, including in ceilings, … Read more

If you are embarking on a building or renovation project contact a professional team of asbestos experts before work gets underway.

Asbestos experts save lives

A court case in recent weeks has highlighted once again why it is so important to turn to asbestos experts before you start any type of building work. Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 8 September 2018, Robert Angell undertook work to remove asbestos-containing material (ACM) while renovating a pub in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. An investigation … Read more