Exposure occurs when asbestos fibres are inhaled or swallowed. Asbestos fibres can be found in the outside air, however these are very low traces amounts which rarely cause health problems. While no level of exposure is deemed safe, most asbestos related diseases are caused by repeated exposure or can be caused from one heavy exposure.
Harmful exposure can happen in a wide range of places and jobs, construction work and home renovations being particularly hazardous. These types of jobs are more hazardous occupations as the worker will be in contact with building materials that may contain fibres. When asbestos products start to deteriorate, or someone cuts, sands, drills or disturbs them in anyway, fibers can become loose and enter the air.
Asbestos exposure has also been found to affect people who have not directly been working with the product. This is called secondary exposure. Secondary exposure can be just as deadly as first hand exposure. Common causes of secondary exposure are laundry, furniture and even hugs!
The clothing of workers who handled asbestos provided a significant risk for secondary exposure. Because of fine, sharp structure of the fibres, the particles latched onto the worker’s clothing. When these clothes were then handled and washed, the person doing this would likely be exposed to the asbestos. Prior to the washing of clothing, items touched or in contact with the worker could also be contaminated, for example coming home to hug a family member then sit down at the dining table. The fibres from the clothing could have crossed onto the person hugged or onto the furniture sat on.
When removing asbestos it is important to choose the correct RPE and PPE.
PPE and RPE are your last lines of defence against asbestos fibres.
- Disposable overalls. Type 5 are suitable. Waterproof overalls may be required for outdoor works.
- Wear one size too big – this help to prevent ripping at the seams.
- If the cuffs are loose, seal them with tape.
- Wear the overall legs over footwear. Tucking them in lets dust into footwear.
- Wear the hood over the RPE straps.
- Dispose of used coveralls as asbestos waste.
- If you wear protective gloves, use single-use disposable gloves. If you must use latex gloves, use only ‘low protein powder-free’ gloves.
- Dispose of used gloves as asbestos waste
- Wellington boots or boots without laces are preferable to disposable overshoes which cause a slipping risk.
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
- Suitable types of RPE: disposable respirator to standards (type FFP3) or EN1827 (type FMP3) half mask respirator (to standard EN140) with P3 filter or semi-disposable respirator (to EN405) with P3 filter.
- This equipment should be suitable for most short duration non-licensed work. Workers should select a make and size that fits them. The size and type of mask is ascertained by a face-fit (preferably a Fit2Fit accredited tester)
All information has been taken from HSE em6 asbestos essentials. For more information on RPE and PPE visit www.hse.gov.uk/guidance
All of our staff have now completed their annual refresher training with AAA Training.
This year we added on some new health and safety training for our operatives and management. We have now completed confined space, safe use of ladders/steps and manual handling awareness.
The training provided staff with a better understanding of safety and the assessment of risk when working within confined spaces, keeping individuals and those around them safe. Management felt it was important to ensure staff are fully aware of the risks when it comes to manual handling and how to prevent injury. Manual handling accidents account for more than a third of all accidents reported each year to the enforcing authorities.
The trend in renovating your house yourself rather than hiring a contractor is on the increase. The enjoyment and satisfaction of completing a project yourself is very appealing, however…..
Have you thought about asbestos?
Do you know where to look for it?
What do I do if I find it?
These are all questions you should answer before starting any works to avoid putting yourself or others at risk of exposure.
Houses built before 2000, have the potential to contain asbestos products. In the UK, asbestos was used extensively as fire-proofing, insulation and numerous different types of building materials all included asbestos in some form. Below is a diagram showing common locations you might find asbestos.
Before starting any refurbishment works, we recommend sampling any materials suspected to be asbestos or if you are unsure if there is likely to be any, call and asbestos contractor. This will allow you to find out its contents and if it requires removal by a licensed asbestos contractor. If the sample comes back as non-asbestos, you can continue your plans to refurbish your home by yourself.
If asbestos is found, it does not mean it needs to be removed. If the asbestos is in good condition and is not going to be disturbed by any part of the refurbishment, it can be left in. However, if the asbestos is likely to be disturbed, it may release harmful fibres into the air that can cause and asbestos related illness. You should then contact an asbestos removal company to advise you on the product and the next steps to take.
Think Asbestos, It Is A Hidden Killer
This week, we have organised our annual refresher training at the start of January for all our staff. All our operatives, supervisors and management will be taking part in 2 days of training provided by AAA training.
This allows all our staff to refresh their skills and be informed of any changes or new techniques that may be used. It ensures are staff are trained to the highest level possible to start off the year.
Wear It Pink Day in the Carymar office was a great success!
All our staff were dressed head to toe in pink to show our support and awareness for breast cancer month. We raised a total of £110! This money will go towards research to help discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it early and how to effectively treat the disease.
Sign up today to get involved with next year’s Wear It Pink day and more fundraising events for breast cancer awareness month. #wearitpink2017
What is asbestos?
Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. The most common found being chrysotile and amosite asbestos . Asbestos minerals are made up of fine, durable fibers and are resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals. All six types of asbestos minerals have common characteristics. All forms of the mineral are odorless and tasteless. When asbestos is present in a material or product, it cannot be detected on a visual examination alone. It must be tested in a laboratory under microscopes.
Why is it dangerous?
Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
When products that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.
Exposure can lead to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is the scarring of the lung tissue, which restricts breathing leading to decreased lung volume and increase resistance in the airways.
Lung Cancer is a malignant tumor of the lungs air passages. The tumour grows through surrounding tissue, invading and often obstructing air passages.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs or around the abdominal organ.
Symptoms of potential asbestos disease
- shortness of breath
- a cough or change in cough pattern
- blood in sputum coughed up from the lungs
- pain in the chest of abdomen
- difficulty swallowing or prolonged hoarseness
- significant weight loss
If you have any concerns about the above symptoms, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
There are different types of the deadly disease mesothelioma, Esophageal is one not most commonly known but can cause sever problems. This form of mesothelioma attacks the esophagus and comes in two different forms.
What is Esophageal Mesothelioma?
The cancer can attack either the voice box or the oropharynx more commonly known as the space at the back of the mouth. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer found in this case. It is when the cells that line the esophagus mutate and become cancerous.
The other form of esophageal mesothelioma is Adenocarcinoma. This is when the cancer strikes the lower portion of the esophagus and it is the glandular tissue that is affected rather than the lining.
Signs and Symptoms
The initial symptoms for esophagus mesothelioma is usually the heaviness or fullness to the throat, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. There can also be deep pain to the throat and in very severe cases vomiting. As this form of cancer develops, the patient will find it difficult to eating and in some cases they will struggle to speak.
It is essential that sufferers see a doctor as soon as they develop any of the noted symptoms as treatment for mesothelioma cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation and also surgery. There is yet to be a cure found for this deadly disease and once diagnosed, the usual life expectancy is not usually possible.
Personal sampling or air monitoring is required for a representative range of jobs and work methods to protect the health of employees.
Personal monitoring involves checking the concentration of airborne fibres employees are being exposed to during works. It allows us to confirm the use of adequate controls and RPE are being used for the required job. It also allows us to check fibre levels are not likely to exceed the control limit of 0.6 f/cm³ over a 10 minute period.
Records of air monitoring should be kept on file for 5 years, except that where employees are under medical surveillance. These record require to be kept for 40 years.
Keeping up with the forever changing internet, we now offer a pay by link service!
This option now allows us to send invoices via your email address with a link to follow and pay instantly. No waiting about for the post to arrive with paperwork, everything can be completed with one click.
Don’t have an email address, no problem! We will still be sending out a copy of our invoice in the post for your records.