We have all heard horror stories about asbestos growing up. It’s the great silent killer that lurks in so many of our walls and ceilings, after all. But just how damaging is it really? And more importantly, how do you protect yourself from it and seek legal advice for asbestos claims if you feel you have come into contact with it?
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name used to describe several microscopic fibres that are used into the construction of insulation. If these fibres are released into the air and inhaled, they can get lodged inside lung tissue and cause serious damage. Indeed, asbestos has been linked to a number of illnesses such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Where can it be found?
In the UK, asbestos was a popular insulation material used in buildings across the UK until it was found to be hazardous to human health. It is often thought that a small amount of asbestos is safe but that’s not true. Any amount of asbestos can be dangerous, whether nit’s found in ceiling tiles, partitions walls or in fire doors.
What to do if you discover asbestos?
If you discover asbestos either in your home or at work, stop what you’re doing immediately and clear the area. Anyone without access to PPE should leave and anyone who might have been affected should be informed. Of course, if the asbestos is located in your home it might not be that simple, but if you can you should find alternative arrangements until it is safely removed.
Dealing with asbestos
- Ensure you have caution tape to prevent others from becoming infected, PPE pr respiratory equipment if you’re going to be working around it, a change of clothes and some clean water.
- Never cut, saw, drill, sand, scrape or otherwise disturb asbestos-containing materials without wearing protective gear.
- Don’t bring home shoes or work clothes that might have been contaminated with asbestos.
- Don’t sweep, dust or vacuum asbestos debris with a normal vacuum cleaner. Use wet cleaning methods or a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Always dispose of asbestos materials according to the proper regulations.
The measures for disposing of asbestos will depend on your local government. There are also different types of asbestos to consider, each of which will need to be disposed of in a different way. The best thing you can do is to contact your local council and ask for their guidance and information. If you feel like you have been exposed to it during disposal, however, you might want to seek legal advice, as you could be liable to make a claim either against your employer or whomever originally installed the material.