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Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?

Two workers entering a building

If asbestos fibres are inhaled or swallowed they have the potential to do damage and can cause various diseases, including cancer. Any level of asbestos exposure can cause harm to an individual but most problems arise when there is repeated and long-term exposure. Understanding the risks of exposure to asbestos in the workplace ensures that your employees remain safe. 

Because asbestos has been so widely used for so many purposes and for so long, there are a number of people who have been - or are still - at risk of exposure. Especially if the building they are working in or on was built before the year 2000. Tradespeople are particularly at risk of exposure to asbestos, including -

  • electricians
  • plumbers
  • builders
  • carpenters 
  • joiners
  • welder, 
  • roofing contractors, and 
  • mechanics

People who carry out building maintenance work of any kind are also at risk of exposure to asbestos, such as

  • Cleaners, and
  • fire or burglar alarm installers

And there’s also those who don’t work with the building itself, but either work or live in it, such as

  • residents of old homes
  • teachers in schools
  • GPs
  • dentists, and
  • hospital staff

However, it’s very important to remember that asbestos is not dangerous as long as it is still intact and undisturbed. If you ever come across anything that you know or think is asbestos, don’t panic.

Common materials that may contain asbestos 

The HSE state that asbestos can be found in many products in the building trade, these include:

  • Loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavities
  • Lagging
  • Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns
  • Asbestos insulating board
  • Floortiles, textiles and composites
  • Textured coatings
  • Asbestos cement products
  • Roofing felt, and
  • Rope seals and gaskets

To reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos, if you ever come across asbestos, stop work and alert everyone in your workspace. You should then report it to the person in charge and arrange for a sample to be sent off and tested. Only licensed and specially trained contractors are able to test for and remove asbestos.

Online Asbestos Awareness Training

Anyone who might come into contact with asbestos at work is legally required to be trained on how to recognise where asbestos can be found and how to minimise the risk of exposure. Our simple Asbestos Awareness Training Course is broken down into 2 sections; Asbestos Awareness and Practical Steps for identifying asbestos, what to do if you come across it, and Asbestos Management Plans.

Claim a no-obligation free trial to the course today!

Online Asbestos Awareness Training