Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Asbestos fibres are present in the environment in the UK. Therefore, people are exposed to very low levels of fibres, where individuals are working on or near a site where damaged or broken materials that contain asbestos are present. This could dramatically increase the number of fibres normally in the environment considerably, therefore increasing the risk of getting an asbestos-related disease.
When working in an area where asbestos may be present, you must be trained and wear the correct personal protective equipment, including respirators, breathing equipment, gloves and full protective equipment. Work must only be carried out by a competent person.
There are four main diseases caused by asbestos: Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis and Diffuse Pleural Thickening. The effect of working with or being exposed to high numbers of fibres would not affect immediately but later on in life.
The standards state that all work involving any form of asbestos will be carried out in accordance with the current Control of Asbestos Regulations and Approved Code of Practice and any removal of asbestos must be done in accordance with the asbestos Licensing Regulations.
Asbestos is not covered under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 as there is a separate regulation covering it.