Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Hidden Asbestos a Danger to Everyone
Posted by David Cant on August 29, 2012

Millions of people in the UK are at risk of the dangers from asbestos.  Geoffrey Newton, a keen DIY enthusiast recently passed away after suffering with mesothelioma.  This disease is a form of cancer that lines the lungs and is caused directly from exposure to asbestos fibres.  While Mr Newton never worked with asbestos in his job he did live to carry out DIY in his home and during his work he was exposed to the fibres not aware that asbestos was present.

All it Takes is a Few Hours

According to experts the disease can be contracted in as little as a few hours of exposure to the fibres of asbestos, although it will not become apparent until later on in life. It is believed that Mr Newton only worked with asbestos while he removed a boiler that was covered in white asbestos, and this was enough to cause him to contract the fatal condition. His wife, Pat, said that she remembers that while working on the boiler she noticed a lot of white dust on the job that took place around 37 years ago.

The amount of people who have been killed by mesothelioma has dramatically risen during the last 30 years.  Any home that has was built or had renovations before the year 2000 could have hidden asbestos, white, brown or blue.  It’s often mixed in with other materials making it very hard to spot. This means that simple DIY projects turn into life threatening situations for anyone present at the time. Many homeowners often contract local lads to help with odd jobs, also exposing them to the risks as they don’t conduct an asbestos survey before hiring help.

Be Aware of Your Legal Responsibility

Businesses need to be fully aware of any asbestos present to ensure that any work carried out on the material is done so in a safe manner or by professionals. Asbestos left untouched will not cause harm, however the moment it is disturbed the fibres are released into the atmosphere and this is a huge problem and cause for concern.  When asbestos is discovered it should be carefully sealed off and then removed using the right precautions.

It is important to always establish if it is present before any work is carried out for homeowners and businesses.  Asbestos is difficult to find for the untrained eye as it can come in all shapes and sizes.  It was previously used in all sorts of areas in homes and buildings such as in cavity walls, boilers, pipe lagging, roof tiles and ceilings. Most of the common masks used for protection are not able to protect those working with the substance as the fibres are so small they are able to penetrate them.

Asbestos Surveys

Health and safety consultants are able to provide affordable and lifesaving asbestos surveys.  The survey can then be used to establish whether asbestos is present, what type and the locations and be used to ensure the safe removal of the material is organised.  Business owners and project managers can face prosecution if they are found to be removing asbestos without conducting a survey or using the correct removal methods.  Speak to our advisors on 0800 1488 677 and ask about asbestos surveys and other health and safety services.


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

This post has been filed in: Asbestos Surveys, Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services

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