The dangers of asbestos: What you need to know

We don’t need to tell you that asbestos is a big deal. The dangers of the substance are common knowledge. And knowledge is power, in this case, more so than most: the power to save lives.

With this in mind, we’d like to give you some basic information on the dangers of asbestos, where it can be found and what you can do to avoid it.

 

What are the different types of asbestos?

There are two types of asbestos:

  • Friable (Class A): crushed or in a dust form, such as paper backing on vinyl or pipe lagging
  • Non-friable (Class B): found in bonded products such as cement sheet and guttering.

 

Why is it so dangerous?

Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause a range of irreversible damage and diseases. Damage may occur in as little as five years or as long as 40-50 years later. Many people will not realise they have been exposed until it’s too late.

 

Where can it be found?

Any building constructed up until the year 2000 has a high probability of containing asbestos. Remember, if you’re planning to renovate or partially demolish a building, have a survey done first to identify if asbestos containing material is present. If it is, contact your local asbestos removalist.

 

Is there a safe way to dispose of asbestos?

Yes – as long as strict guidelines are followed. Bagging and wrapping asbestos pieces is essential in any sort of removal – and dumping asbestos-containing materials can only be done on authorised sites. We advise you leave this to the asbestos specialists.

 

What more can you do?

Recognition means everything when it comes to asbestos. From sticking up posters on-site to equipping your team with knowledge of asbestos dangers through the HazardCo app, educating your workers could be the difference between life and death.

There are many asbestos training courses available online for additional education and training.

 

Did you know?

Asbestos was used as fake snow in the Wizard of Oz. With the appearance of fluffy white snow, amosite asbestos was sold as Christmas decoration from the 1930s right up to the 1950s. The Wizard of the Oz wasn’t the only film to use asbestos as fake snow, with both White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life both using it for its snow-like effect.

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