Health & Safety Training: Asbestos Awareness. What is asbestos? The nature of fire. Types of asbestos. Crocidolite. Anthophylite Tremolite.

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1 Health & Safety Training: Asbestos Awareness What is asbestos? Asbestos is a term used for the fibrous forms of several silicate minerals which naturally occur in the ground. Asbestos is extracted by mining, typically open cast mines. Asbestos was known as the 'magic mineral' because it is: Stable at high temperatures Good electrical insulation High tensile strength Long flexible fibres Does not degrade The nature of fire Types of asbestos The three most common types of asbestos are: Chrysotile (white) Amosite (brown) Crocidolite (blue) These asbestos types are commonly referred to by the colour white, brown or blue asbestos. Amosite Crocidolite Chrysotile However it is not normally possible to identify the type of asbestos by colour especially when the asbestos is combined with other materials in building products. These types of asbestos have been widely used in products including many building materials. Other types of asbestos which are much less commonly used in products are: Actinolite Anthophylite Tremolite

2 A brief history 4000BC asbestos was used in wicks for lamps and candles 1870s modern excavation of white asbestos began in Canada and Russia 1890 reports of ill health caused by asbestos began to emerge 1931 the first asbestos related h&s regulations in the UK due to evidence of ill health in factories making asbestos products s Present day heavily used as cost-effective construction material. Real evidence began to emerge about dangers of asbestos to human health and that much lower doses than previously thought could cause harm in many countries, including the UK, the manufacture and use of asbestos products is banned. However, chrysotile is still produced in some countries such as Canada. Asbestos materials such as asbestos cement still widely used in some third world countries Identifying asbestos containing materials The law requires you to confirm whether or not a material contains asbestos when there is a risk of people being exposed to asbestos fibre. Unidentified materials must be presumed to contain asbestos. When identifying a few simple materials you may be able confirm whether or not they contain asbestos. However a Refurbishment/ Demolition Asbestos Survey will normally be required to identify asbestos materials before any construction work.

3 Use of asbestos in buildings Asbestos was widely used in a variety of building, insulation and household products in the UK. Some has been removed but asbestos containing materials are still present in many buildings including workplaces, commercial and public buildings and private houses. Asbestos can be found in the following places: Kitchen floor tiles Heater cupboard Fuse box Wall Paneling Rain Water Goods Soffit Boards Floor Insulation Artex Ceiling Water tank Pipe Lagging Toilet Cistern Higher risk materials These materials often have high asbestos fibre contents including the more dangerous blue and brown asbestos. The materials are normally easily damaged allowing fibre to escape easily. Only contractors with a special license granted by the HSE can carry out work on these materials Loose insulation was essentially pure asbestos fibre which was laid loose or in paper bags (like jiffy bags) or mattresses or quilts. It usually comprised blue or white asbestos. The loose fibre is very easy to disturb and make airborne, especially since the paper bag will have deteriorated over time. The photo shows a quilt laid under the joists of a floor as thermal insulation

4 Sprayed coating Fire protection on structural steelwork or concrete or on the underside of floors. Also used as anti-condensation and thermal insulation on roofs and walls of industrial buildings. Contains between 55% and 85% of a mixture of asbestos types (mainly blue until 1962) in a cement binder. Discontinued in Spray coatings are brittle (if not sealed) and allow high levels of fibre release. Asbestos insulating board Millboard has up to 97% (usually white) asbestos content. Made until 1965 it is easy to break, releasing large amounts of asbestos fibre. Old AIBs may contain up to 40% (but usually 15-25%) of various asbestos types. AIBs were manufactured until All types of board are relatively easy to break and release fibre. AIBs are usually painted or plastered making identification difficult Asbestos insulating board 2 Generally used as: Partitioning Ceilings including tiles Wall/roof linings Canopies/porch linings Fire protection Cladding on doors etc The bottom right photograph shows an internal partition made of asbestos insulating board and one above is a close up showing the low density of the broken material allowing fibres to easily become airborne. Asbestos insulating board 3 ceiling tiles This photo show asbestos insulating board ceiling tiles. They are found in a range of designs such as the common perforated ceiling tile found in offices. Please note that non-asbestos ceiling tiles with similar designs are also common. The perforated appearance is not a guaranteed means of identifying the asbestos type

5 Thermal insulation Hand mixed (powder and water) and applied like a paste, building up layer after layer. Often finished with a wrap of calico painted with PVA, latex or bitumen to give a smooth hard outer case. The photograph shows a pipe lagged with coated asbestos thermal insulation in good condition. Pre-formed pipe lagging (e.g. Caposil and Caposite) were also produced. Blue asbestos was used until 1970; brown asbestos was phased out during the 70s and the product was entirely discontinued by 1980 Thermal insulation 2 Another interesting example of asbestos thermal insulation (lagging) is this coating on an old steel domestic hot water tank. The lagging surface is uneven/bumpy. As most steel water tanks will now have rusted away and been replaced with modern copper cylinders, it is rare to find such an example. Do not confuse this with the normal yellow expanded polystyrene foam insulation on the more modern copper hot water cylinders (these can readily be identified as polystyrene foam at the cut-outs for the pipes and the surface is smooth) Lower risk (non-licensed) asbestos materials In lower risk materials the asbestos fibre cannot easily escape from the binder material, for example the cement binder in asbestos cement products. Work on these materials does not need a contractor with a HSE license. However if the material is already damaged or will be damaged by the work, the HSE must be notified of the work before it starts. Most other asbestos legal requirements still apply to the work. Paper, felt, cardboard and textiles These materials are usually 100%, mainly white, asbestos but also blue and brown in textiles up to Asbestos paper is particularly easily damaged if not bonded with other products. Uses for paper and cardboard included electrical insulation, acoustic lining in air con systems, reinforcement or lining to other products such as flooring or roof felt. Uses for textiles included gaskets / rope (see photo), lagging, fire blankets, fire proof gloves etc

6 Decorative Textured Coatings Artex is commonly used as a generic name for the material but there were other product names. These products have been used widely as decorative finishes on walls and ceilings of domestic premises in the second half of the 20th century - you may have some in your own home. Up until the mid 1980s, the coatings contained 3% to 5% white asbestos (although non asbestos products were available from the mid 70s). The small amount of asbestos fibre is well bound in the cement matrix and will not be released unless disturbed or damaged Asbestos cement Used up to Contains 10-15% of mainly white (and some blue and brown between 1945 and 1976) asbestos in a cement binder. Non-asbestos fibre-cement boards are still in use. Some fibre release can occur through deterioration or when broken or abraded. Asbestos cement and some AIBs (licensed material) can look the same. If so a laboratory density test is needed to determine whether it is asbestos cement or AIB Asbestos cement Asbestos cement profile sheeting is commonly found on garages at domestic premises. Prefabricated wall panels will usually be either asbestos cement or concrete. Another asbestos cement pre-formed product is roof tiles (often of similar appearance to slate roof tiles ) made by Eternit and other companies (as shown in photo on a 1980s building). Asbestos cement Also used to make a range of pre-formed products such as: Domestic cold water supply tanks Drain pipes, rainwater pipes and guttering and soil pipes Flues, cable troughs, garden fencing panels and draining boards for the kitchen sink You can even find flat asbestos cement sheets as bath panels or fitted to doors. These are often painted, thus disguising the material. Photos from top: boiler flue, cold water tank, soil vent pipe

7 Asbestos diseases Asbestos fibres are very small (microscopic) and can be easily breathed in. Many of these will be expelled by the body s defence mechanisms, but some can become stuck in the deeper parts of the lungs. The amount of fibre can then build up as more fibres are inhaled over time. One of the useful properties of asbestos was its durability - it does not easily degrade. This however causes health problems because the human body cannot break down the fibres. Once in the lungs, the fibres persist for many years and can work their way through lung tissue. Blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) fibres are sharp and needle-like and have a greater tendency to move through body tissue. The risk of developing asbestos-related disease depends on a number of factors including the quantity of fibre that accumulates in the body, time since first exposure and type and size of asbestos fibres. There is usually a long delay between first exposure to asbestos fibres and the onset of disease. This delay can range from 15 to 60 years. This is known as the asbestos disease latency period. Asbestos-related diseases now account for about 4000 deaths each year in the UK. Maintenance workers are the current 'at risk' group. This includes electricians, general builders, plumbers etc. These people are thought to be the most likely to be exposed to asbestos materials/fibres when working in existing buildings. The number of asbestos related deaths could rise to as many as 10,000 a year unless they avoid exposure. Pleural plaques Not a fatal condition and does not cause ill health. Benign thickened areas which do not become malignant or impair lung function (the pleura is the lining of the chest where the organs are contained) Asbestosis Irreversible scarring of lungs causing decrease in elasticity of lung tissue and potentially severe/fatal breathing difficulties. An industrial disease resulting from high levels of all types of asbestos. No risk is posed by normal environmental exposure. Lung cancer A natural disease with an increased incidence in those working with asbestos. All types of asbestos can cause the disease, but a greater risk from blue and brown types. Smoking combined with exposure to asbestos fibres significantly increases lung cancer risk. Mesothelioma Cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal wall. Again, there is evidence of increased risk from blue or brown asbestos.

8 Asbestos ill health risk It is a common misconception that one inhaled asbestos fibre can kill. Asbestos fibres are present everywhere in the air in very low levels. We all breathe in a low level of fibres all the time. We tolerate this exposure well without ill health. One way to consider asbestos risk is to look at the probabilities for contracting lung cancer against a baseline probability of catching this disease naturally An asbestos worker who doesn't smoke is 5x more likely to contract lung cancer A smoker who is not an asbestos worker is 11x more likely to contract lung cancer An asbestos worker who is also a smoker, is 53x more likely to contract lung cancer This shows the synergistic effect of smoking and asbestos fibre. None of us at Cunningham Lindsey are asbestos workers, so there is only a minor risk of exposure related to encountering asbestos containing materials at site visits. Our policy Our Asbestos Policy requires all staff to avoid exposure to asbestos fibre. During site visits, you must avoid areas where there are suspected damaged asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and the possibility of exposure to asbestos fibre. An isolated minor exposure is unlikely to be significant, but there is a slight concern that repeated minor exposures may increase the risk of ill health. Field staff must therefore apply the avoidance policy to minimise the risk of repeated incidental exposures. If you consider that this cannot be achieved, inform your manager in the first instance for review. Modified work methods may be necessary. When settling claims we must allow for costs to ensure that asbestos materials are safely dealt with in compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (which were summarised in the Introduction section of this module).

9 Summary of the Key Steps of an ACM Management Process for Construction/ Repair Work: Confirm scope of damage and proposed mitigation / repair work Arrange an asbestos survey if required covering all materials (including those hidden from view) involved in, or disturbed by, the damage and repair work Determine what ACM (removal) work is required and arrange with an approved licensed asbestos contractor. The contractor will notify HSE of any ACM work where required The contractor must risk assess and plan the asbestos work If there are any changes to the repair work ensure that the asbestos survey and any removal work is still adequate for managing asbestos risks Clearance testing certificate or written statement of cleaning/ reoccupation should be provided after the ACM work and information on remaining ACMs in the work area provided to the person responsible for the property

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