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What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was added to common building products most extensively from the 1950s until the 1980s. The properties of asbestos include good insulation, fireproofing and increasing the strength & durability of a product. Although there are six types of asbestos fibre, generally three types were used commercially; these were chrysotile (white), amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue). Asbestos was banned from use in buildings in 1999 but still remains widespread in public and private sector buildings built and refurbished before this date.

Where Can I Find Asbestos?

Due to these properties, asbestos was added to a large number of products including floor tiles, garage roofs, drain pipes, pipe insulation, decorative coatings (e.g. artex), pipe boxing and toilet cisterns.
More information on the location of asbestos in buildings can be found here:

Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Where asbestos materials are in a good condition and unlikely to be disturbed they do not present a risk. Asbestos materials were often used for things like fire protection so can actually save lives. In contrast, where materials are in a poor condition, or are disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres may be released into the air, depending on the product type. If fibres are breathed in, they can cause serious lung diseases including cancer. The HSE have created the following page to assist people assessing when they are at risk:

Asbestos in Properties

Asbestos in the workplace is subject to legal requirements under The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Anybody responsible for access, egress, maintenance and repair within a building has a legal duty to manage asbestos within that building. The HSE have provided guidance for people who own, manage or have responsibilities for buildings which may contain asbestos:
Electricians, plumbers, joiners, other maintenance workers, and shop fitters are particularly at risk from exposure to asbestos and precautionary measures must be taken by contractors and building owners to identify whether a material or structure contains asbestos before work commences.

How Do I Find Out If My Building Contains Asbestos?
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires building managers (dutyholders) to ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment is carried out as to whether asbestos is or is liable to be present. This may involve arranging for an asbestos survey. Please refer to HSG 264 Asbestos: The Survey Guide for further information:
In non-domestic premises, the findings of an asbestos inspection must be incorporated into an asbestos management plan to manage the risks from asbestos.

Working with Asbestos

Never attempt work with asbestos insulation boards, pipe lagging or sprayed asbestos; these materials are friable (easily breakable and capable of releasing fibres) and MUST ONLY be worked with by a licensed asbestos contractor. These materials fall under the category of licensed work. Please refer to this page:

Non-licensed work with other materials may fall into two sub-categories: notifiable non-licensed work and non-notifiable non-licensed work. The following link may help you decide what category the work falls under:

Further information regarding non-licensed and notifiable non-licensed work can be found here:

The HSE have published a number of task sheets to help with non-licensed works, decontamination and disposal and are available here:

If you are unsure what type of asbestos product a particular material is, you should seek the advice of an asbestos professional before proceeding with any work.

Notification to Enforcing Authority of Licensable Work with Asbestos (ASB5)

Work by licensed asbestos removal companies must be notified to either the Health and Safety Executive or Local Authority. A guide which details which is the correct enforcing authority based on the main activity at the workplace where the asbestos is present is provided below:

How to identify the appropriate enforcing authority
Type of premises/activity Local Authority, eg District Council
Shops, offices, separate catering services, launderettes, sport, entertainment and recreational activities, exhibitions, church or religious meetings, hotels, camping and caravan sites, wholesale and retail storage. District Council (or equivalent)
Factories and factory offices, civil engineering, construction* and demolition sites, hospitals, research and development establishments, local Government services and educational establishments, fairgrounds, radio, television and film broadcasting, sea going ships, docks, transport undertakings, railways, domestic premises, quarries,

farms (and associated activities), horticultural premises and forestries (*including premises which fall to Local Authorities).

Field Operations Directorate (FOD)
Health and Safety Executive
Mines, Offshore Installations and corresponding division Hazardous Installation Directorate (HID)
Offshore Safety Division
Health and Safety Executive
Operating licensed nuclear sites Field Operations Directorate (FOD)
Health and Safety Executive (FOD deal with removal work at these installations)
Licensed asbestos work:
1. Project is notifiable under The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM); or
2. All or part of the work is on the outside of the building or the external fabric of the
Field Operations Directorate (FOD)
Health and Safety Executive
Licensed asbestos work:
1. Not a notifiable CDM project and all of the work is on the interior of the building.
Local Authority (in LA enforced premises
Addresses can be found in local telephone directories

To submit an ASB5 notification to this Authority please contact the Health and Safety Team via:

Disposing of Non-Licensed Asbestos

Non-licensed domestic asbestos waste can be taken to the household waste recycling centre at Dunsdale (charges apply), providing it is correctly labelled and packaged. The following tasksheet contains information on how to dispose of non-licensed asbestos and you should follow the steps as listed:

If you are unable to complete the steps as recommended by the HSE, you must arrange for collection of the asbestos waste by an asbestos removal contractor who is licensed to carry the waste. The Council does not offer a collection service. Please refer to the asbestos section of the HSE website or the following link for further information.

Request for Further Advice in Relation to Asbestos

If after having read the information in this section you still require further advice or information please contact the Health and Safety Team via e-mail:

Further Information And Links

The HSE have created a section dedicated to asbestos on their website. This section contains publications, guidance and general information:

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