Asbestos Awareness FAQs & Resources

As a leading provider of Health & Safety eLearning, our experts are often asked about Asbestos. We've collected all of those questions and answered them for you below...

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Asbestos Awareness FAQs

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that is small enough to be woven into fabrics. Before people knew the dangers of asbestos it could be found in building insulation, roofing and flooring. If you breathe in these fibres they can get stuck to your lungs and cause serious damage. There are 4 main diseases that asbestos can cause:

  • Mesothelioma (a type of cancer)
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Pleural disease
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer

For a sneak peek of our Asbestos Awareness Course Check out our 'What is Asbestos' video on Youtube.

What types of asbestos are there?

The different types of asbestos vary in how dangerous they are. There are 5 types of asbestos:

  • Chrysotile is white asbestos and is the most common form. It can be found in; roofs, ceilings, walls, brake linings, insulations for pipes and boiler seals.
  • Amosite is brown asbestos and used in cement sheets and pipe insulation.
  • Crocidolite is a blue asbestos that was used to insulate steam engines and also in some spray on coatings.
  • Anthophyllite was used for insulation products and construction materials.
  • Tremolite and actinolite aren't used commercially, they can be found in Chrysotile and talc.

When was asbestos banned?

Blue and brown asbestos was banned in 1985. White asbestos was banned in 1999.

Where is asbestos found?

Before the dangers were known and the use of asbestos was banned, it could be found in materials all over homes and workplaces. It could be found in, the ceiling, flooring, roofing, insulation, joint compound and more.

Can I remove asbestos myself?

While it is not illegal, it is STRONGLY recommended you don’t test for or dispose of asbestos yourself. You need to have the right qualification to be able to remove asbestos safely.

What do I do if I think I’ve come across asbestos?

You need to report it to the relevant authorities to get it tested. If it comes back positive for asbestos, you will need to arrange for extraction of it. But if it comes back negative then it will require no action.

Should I be provided with PPE if I am working with asbestos?

Regulation 4 of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states:

‘Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work.’ Asbestos supplies a significant risk to health so PPE should be worn when handling it.
Should I do a risk assessment on an area of asbestos?

Before asbestos is operated on or extracted, a risk assessment should be carried out to assess the risk of exposure and then if there is a high risk, it should try to be reduced.

When do I need an asbestos license?

Regulation 8 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, requires an employer to have a license to be able to begin licensable work with asbestos. This means that an employer will need a license when undertaking higher risk work as stated by HSE.

I think I have been exposed to asbestos, what do I do?

If you think you have been exposed to asbestos then it is a good idea to go visit your GP as it is better to be safe than sorry! Not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos will get a serious illness from it, but if you are experiencing symptoms like coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath then you should go to your GP. They will ask you questions about where you have worked, where you are living and various others. If you then find out that you have inhaled asbestos, you will need to arrange the relevant checks and removal of asbestos wherever the source is.

I don't think my employer is providing the correct safety equipment to be working with asbestos, what can I do?

If an employer is not providing PPE, it goes against the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. It is advised that you try to sort the problem with your employer out first informally. But this means that you can report them to HSE should they not be complying with legislation.

Is there asbestos in my house?

If your house was built before 1980 then it is likely to have asbestos in it. But asbestos is only harmful if it is broken or disturbed in some way. If your house was built after 1980, then it should not have any asbestos in it. It was ceased to be used in 1999 in the UK.

Is it illegal to sell asbestos?

Yes, you are not allowed to sell (or give away free of charge) any items containing asbestos in the UK.

What does asbestos look like?

Asbestos is not easily recognisable by sight as it can come in many different forms. HSE provides many examples of what it may look like and where it could be found. But if you are not sure and suspect it then it is important to get a professional to test it.

FAQs regarding our Asbestos Awareness course

How long does the course take?

This course will take 30 minutes to complete, including a 20 question test at the end providing your certificate.

Why is this training important?

Our awareness course helps employees understand the dangers of asbestos, become more aware of their surroundings and also teaches them about the relevant legislation surrounding asbestos.

What approvals does this course have?

This course is IATP, IOSH Approved & CPD Accredited for your reassurance.

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.​

Does this course work towards legislation compliance?

This course aims to make users aware of the legislation surrounding the control of asbestos and helps you work towards compliance with current legislation.

Documents and resources

  • Asbestos Regulations

    Anyone who has even the slightest chance of being exposed to asbestos fibres at work must have training; they must know where asbestos and asbestos materials are likely to be found in buildings and know how to avoid the risk of exposure.

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