Caution Asbestos. Asbestos advice for residents

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1 Caution Asbestos Asbestos advice for residents Customer Approved

2 This leaflet has been designed to address concerns and questions about asbestos in homes. It explains what it is, where it could be found, why it might be a problem and how to deal with it. What is asbestos? Asbestos is the name given to a group of fibrous minerals found naturally in many parts of the world. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide fire proofing and noise reduction. Properties built since the mid-1980s are unlikely to contain asbestos in the fabric of the building. Properties built after 2000 are extremely unlikely to contain asbestos anywhere in the building. What is wrong with asbestos? When asbestos materials age or become damaged they may release fibres into the air. The fibres, breathed in, could lead to asbestos-related diseases. People who have worked with asbestos for many years as part of their job are most likely to be affected. Most occurrences of asbestos in housing are of low risk and unlikely to harm your health 2

3 What are your responsibilities? If you think asbestos-containing materials may be in your home, don t panic! Asbestos-containing materials in good condition will not release asbestos fibres. There is no danger unless the fibres are released and inhaled into the lungs. Changes to the structure or fabric of your home are not permitted under your tenancy agreement without prior written approval. If you want to carry out any home improvements that may disturb an asbestos-containing material you must contact your Planned Maintenance section for permission so that Severn Vale Housing can ensure the proper controls are put in place to reduce exposure to you, your family and the person carrying out the work (if not yourself). Asbestos products should not be: n Drilled, cut or disturbed. n Scraped or sanded. If you carry out any work or permit others to carry out work without written approval, you will be liable for any costs of dealing with any asbestos incidents. Severn Vale s responsibilities Due to the possible health risks, changes have been made to legislation. Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 the government requires us to hold a register of where asbestos is located within the communal areas where you live. The regulations do not currently extend to your individual homes. However, as a responsible landlord, we undertake detailed asbestos surveys of your homes during improvement works and when we upgrade empty homes. This information is also recorded in the register, so that we can inform you of any risks you or our workforce and representatives may be exposed to. We will ensure that any asbestos containing material is maintained in a safe condition and, where it is necessary, we will remove it. To help us to do this, we employ specialist surveyors who have undertaken asbestos sampling training which qualifies them to take samples of suspected asbestos-containing material. This will then be tested at a registered laboratory and the results placed onto our database. Any identified asbestos-containing material left in your home will be in good condition and covered or out of reach, so that removal will not be necessary. A regular monitoring programme will ensure it remains in good condition. 3

4 Removing asbestos-containing material If there is a need to remove any asbestos-containing material from your home, Severn Vale Housing will decide on the best course of action. Dependant upon the type of asbestos-containing material, we will need to appoint a specialist contractor. In this case, the specialist contractor will ensure that the asbestos-containing material is moved safely from your home to a licensed landfill site. Any asbestos-containing material removed from your home will be double wrapped in plastic and taped. Once this removal work has been completed, we need to ensure that the asbestos-containing material is disposed of safely in a government-licensed landfill site. To comply with legislation, Severn Vale Housing will employ a licensed contractor to transport the asbestos containing material and they will provide supporting paperwork. This paperwork will track the route from your home to the waste transfer station, before being disposed of at a landfill site. Therefore, there may be occasions where the double wrapped asbestos-containing material will be left in a safe place outside your home awaiting collection. The double wrapped package will be clearly marked, stating asbestos. The material is perfectly safe when wrapped in this way, as long as it is not tampered with. It is important that you do not tamper, open or move the double wrapped package. We will do our best to keep collection time to a minimum. If you are in doubt or concerned and would like to obtain any further advice please contact Severn Vale Housing on

5 Areas where asbestos may be present in your home Coatings & Paints Water Tank Roof Sheets & Tiles Guttering & Downpipes Bath Panels Soffit Boards Garage Roof Behind Electrical Equipment Artex Ceilings* Partitions Boiler Flue Heater Cupboard around Domestic Box Panel behind or under Heater Panel on or inside Fire Door Floor Tiles or Lino Lagging in older Boiler Paperwork *Artex that dates prior to 1970 may contain asbestos which puts the tenant at high risk if they attempt to remove or decorate over it. 5

6 Do s and Don ts of living with asbestos Do s Do treat asbestos-containing materials with respect. You must contact Severn Vale Housing if you wish to undertake DIY work to your property and obtain our permission. You must do this even if there is no asbestos-containing material in your home. We can arrange for one of our trained asbestos surveyors to advise you. Do take every precaution to avoid damaging identified asbestos-containing material in your home. Remember: Only a licensed contractor can remove asbestos products. Don ts n Don t panic if you think you have asbestos-containing material in your home - it is only a problem if it gets disturbed n Don t drill, sand, cut or in any way disturb an area which is know to contain asbestos n Remember, if you don t breathe asbestos dust then it cannot harm you n Don t use power tools on any asbestos-containing material n Don t remove any suspected asbestos-containing products and try to dispose of them at your local Council s refuse site n Never Sweep asbestos dust or debris as this sends the asbestos fibres into the air n Don t break asbestos containing materials into small pieces because this release the small fibres into the atmosphere n Don t use a domestic vacuum cleaner to clean up. They spread the fibres rather than contain them n Don t carry asbestos containing materials through your home if you can avoid it. 6

7 Useful contact details: The Health and Safety Executive (West Midlands) 1 Hagley Road Birmingham B16 8HS w: National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection 44 Grand Parade Brighton East Sussex BN2 9QA Asbestos Information Centre 5a The Maltings Stowupland Road Stowmarket Suffolk IP14 5AG

8 For Further information: the health and Safety executive w: national Society for Clean air and environmental Protection w: t: asbestos information Centre w: t: GUiDE is Gloucestershire s Health, Social Care and Disability information service. They hold a database of local and national support organisations. This is a free and confidential service. opening times: 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. You can access this service by contacting GuiDe as shown below: tel: web: Severn Vale Housing Society Limited Shannon Way, Ashchurch, Tewkesbury Gloucestershire GL20 8ND t: f: e: w: Office Hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5.00pm Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm Registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, Register Number: 28557R. Registered Office: As above. Tenant Services Authority Registration No.: L4171. Document Control Created by: Planned Maintenance Date created: August 2011 Customer Approved: September 2011

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