Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Dangers of Asbestos
Posted by David Cant on July 20, 2011

Workplace health and safety covers potential hazards to ensure safety for all employees within a company premises. There are many aspects of health and safety such as noise safety levels which protect employees’ hearing and reduce the likelihood of requiring auditory support from Widex hearing aids

Another major aspect of health and safety in the workplace is ensuring the environment and building are up to standards. Asbestos surveys provided by health and safety companies confirm whether a building is free from asbestos or not.

Most asbestos substances have been banned since 1985 due to substantial evidence that they possess carcinogenic qualities as a consequence of inhalation of their fibres. Mesothelioma, asbestosis and malignant lung cancer trends have occurred in those who have been exposed to asbestos. This is why commercial buildings must have asbestos surveys to ensure the building doesn’t pose any asbestos-related health risks.

There are 3 types of asbestos: white, brown and blue. The different types vary in their health risk levels and uses.

White Asbestos, known as Chrysolite, is the most commonly used and the most flexible. In Ancient Egypt it was woven into a fabric and used as burial clothes due to its durability. During the 19th and 20th century it was mainly used for floor tiles and corrugated roof sheets on garages and outbuildings. Chrysolite wasn’t banned until 1999.

Brown Asbestos – Amosite is part of the amphibole asbestos series and is less flexible than Chrysolite. Amosite is incredibly heat and fire resistant, leading to its main use as a fire retardant for building structures. Amosite was also used for pipe insultation during the 1920’s and 1960’s.

Crocidolite, more commonly known as blue asbestos, is the most hazardous to human health of the three. It was used for rope lagging in the late 19th century. Crocidolite’s import peaked in the 1950’s and saw a 25% drop in the 60’s, proceeded by an 88% drop in the following decade. Strict guidelines on the use of Crocidolite were in place from 1969, until the substance was finally banned in 1985.

Although asbestos has been banned for quite some time, a significant number of buildings still contain asbestos, which when disturbed can be lethal to human health. Asbestos within the workplace must be detected and located immediately to avoid compromising workers’ health. Health and safety companies must be contacted if asbestos is suspected to be in a commercial building.

Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Widex hearing aids and Resound hearing aids


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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