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What Is An Asbestos Report, And Why Is It Important?

Importance of an asbestos report

When asbestos is detected at a property, removal doesn’t necessarily have to take place. So long as the asbestos-containing materials are not disturbed, people can live and work around it. However, if the property requires any construction, electrical, plumbing or interior design-work (among others), everyone involved must be aware of the asbestos so that steps can be taken to maintain safety.

After asbestos has been discovered, a survey should be carried out, and a report created and maintained; regardless of whether it is housed within a commercial or residential property.

Being aware of the location and condition of asbestos within an area you or your team are working in can make all the difference in keeping everyone safe and healthy. This is particularly important for those working in an industry with increased chances of coming into contact with asbestos-containing materials.

What is an asbestos report?

An asbestos report is a document providing essential information about any asbestos found within a property. The report highlights:

  • The location of the asbestos
  • How much asbestos is found
  • The type of asbestos-containing materials

What is an asbestos report used for?

An asbestos report has multiple uses, the main one being an assurance that everyone working near the substance is fully aware of the situation so that safety precautions can be implemented. Other uses include:

  • Preparation of an asbestos register
  • Inclusion of asbestos-related information within a risk assessment and method statement

What should be included in an asbestos report?

Asbestos can be extremely hazardous when disturbed, even lethal in some cases; therefore, surveys should only be carried out by a competent surveyor who can showcase their qualifications and experience. Once the survey has been completed, an asbestos report should be created with details of the findings.

The asbestos report should include:

  • Analysis of a sample of the asbestos
  • Where the asbestos-containing materials are located
  • The type of asbestos found
  • The condition of the substance

When is an asbestos report required?

Asbestos surveys, followed up with an asbestos report are required if:

  • A property was constructed before the year 2000
  • If a building is used for non-domestic purposes
  • If construction work is planned on any property
  • If a domestic property has public areas (such as hallways in an apartment block).

How long is an asbestos survey valid for?

Guidance from the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 advises that an inspection should be carried out every six to twelve months. From this, the asbestos report and any other relevant documentation, including risk assessments, should also be updated.

Asbestos reports and those working around asbestos

Multiple jobs may lead to working around asbestos. Of these, some carry a higher risk of exposure. Roles that carry a higher risk involve construction, electrical and plumbing work. These types of roles are more dangerous because there is an increased risk of disturbing the asbestos, which is when the substance is at its most hazardous.

Asbestos reports are invaluable to those undertaking work within, or near, a property with asbestos-containing materials. This can prevent the substance from being unknowingly disturbed and can be useful in creating a risk assessment for individual projects.

The importance of asbestos awareness

While asbestos reports are beneficial to individuals working at a property, it is only useful to those who have an understanding of what the report findings mean. Therefore, anyone working in a role that may lead to interaction with asbestos should undertake asbestos awareness training, this will ensure that they know what to look out for themselves and how to stay safe.

Similar to asbestos reports, this training is not a one-time event. In fact, the HSE suggests that refresher courses be undertaken to ensure knowledge is maintained.

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What is Asbestos Mesothelioma?

Asbestos and mesothelioma

Even though it is now illegal to utilise asbestos within construction, there will still be occasions when you work in a building that houses it. Even though asbestos can cause severe illnesses like asbestosis and mesothelioma, when properly trained, it is possible to operate around the substance safely.

However, it is essential to know the symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses so that you can seek medical care and advice swiftly.


What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which typically grows in the lining of the outer surface of the organs. The main organ affected by this form of cancer is the lungs; however, it can also impact the heart, stomach and, in men, the testicles.

What is mesothelioma caused by?

In almost all cases of mesothelioma, the cause is related to asbestos exposure. Whether you work for a company that risks exposure to asbestos, or you own a company that does; it is essential that everyone regularly undertakes an asbestos awareness course online to help everyone stay as safe as possible.

Currently, around 2,500 people in the UK die from mesothelioma annually. However, this number should start to decrease following the ban of asbestos within construction in 1999.

Mesothelioma symptoms

Symptoms of this type of cancer are not generally noticeable until several decades down the line. Therefore, if you are working in a role that may lead to exposure to disturbed asbestos, it is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor. They may want to bear this in mind so that they can catch any symptoms as early as possible.

Symptoms of mesothelioma in the lungs include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest
  • A cough that lasts a considerable amount of time
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Appetite loss
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever and sweating, especially at night
  • Swollen (clubbed) fingertips

Symptoms of mesothelioma in the stomach include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Appetite loss
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Swelling of the stomach
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Mesothelioma diagnosis

If you have the symptoms described above, you should speak with your GP. They may refer you for hospital tests, which include:

  • CT scan – using multiple images to create a detailed picture of your body
  • X-ray – either of your chest or stomach
  • Thoracoscopy or Laparoscopy – inserting a camera through a small incision to perform a biopsy (you will be sedated for this)
  • Fluid drainage – this will only be done if there is a fluid build-up in your stomach or around your lungs. The removed fluid will be analysed

This will test whether or not you have developed mesothelioma as well as how far it has spread.

Mesothelioma prognosis

Unfortunately, because it takes so long for symptoms of this illness to develop, and mesothelioma can progress quickly once symptoms occur, the prognosis tends not to be great.

What is the life expectancy of a person with mesothelioma?

Around 10% of people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma will live for a minimum of five years, whereas approximately 50% of individuals with a diagnosis will live a minimum of one year.

Asbestos awareness course online

Quality training around asbestos should be invested in regularly. Whether you invest yourself or via your company; it is essential that you complete a course in asbestos awareness. The HSE recommends that you invest in some sort of refresher course every twelve months; however, you should undertake training sooner if you don’t feel comfortable in your knowledge.

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What is Asbestosis Disease?

Asbestosis Disease

The use of asbestos was banned in construction in 1999. However, the substance has not been removed from properties built before the ban was implemented. If undisturbed, the substance does not pose a risk to those who live or work around it. However, if it is disturbed, dangerous particles can linger in the air for up to 72 hours.

People exposed to disturbed asbestos for a prolonged period risk developing illnesses such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Anyone who works around the substance must be aware of asbestosis and the symptoms. Furthermore, it is essential that employers provide quality awareness training for any workers operating in areas that may house asbestos.


What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a long-term condition that affects the lungs. To be at risk of this disease, you would need to be exposed to disturbed asbestos over a prolonged period.

Those who operated within the construction industry between 1970 and 1999 are most at risk. Other people at risk include individuals who may disturb the substance while working, including:

  • Demolition workers
  • Electricians
  • Those who refurbish properties
  • Plumbers
  • Construction workers

What are the causes of asbestosis?

When materials that house asbestos are damaged, fine dust is released containing asbestos fibres. If you are interested in what asbestos looks like in various building materials, you can take a look here.

When the dust containing asbestos fibres is breathed in, it can scar the lungs, particularly if it is breathed in over a prolonged period; resulting in asbestosis.

What are the symptoms of asbestosis?

The main symptoms of asbestosis to be aware of include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • Clubbed (swollen fingers) in more advanced cases

There are rare occasions when additional symptoms develop, these include:

  • Swelling in the face or neck
  • Problems swallowing
  • Blood in the sputum
  • Weight loss or loss in appetite
  • Hypertension

It can take anything from ten to fifty years for symptoms to show themselves. You should seek advice from your GP if:

  • You worked in construction before the ban
  • Are worried you have been exposed to disturbed asbestos
  • Are showing any of the above symptoms

Asbestosis diagnosis

If you have been exposed and are showing symptoms related to asbestosis, your GP will need to know more about your working life. If they believe you may have developed asbestosis, they will refer you to a lung specialist for additional tests. These will include:

  • A CT scan – targeting the lungs
  • An X-ray – targeting the chest
  • Further tests analysing lung function

Asbestosis prognosis

Unfortunately, lung scarring caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos cannot be reversed; however, there are treatments available to help; such as:

  • Oxygen therapy – to improve oxygen levels in your blood and relieve breathlessness
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation – this involves exercise sessions and advice on how to manage your symptoms

There is also an increased risk that individuals with an asbestosis diagnosis will develop additional conditions, including:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Pleural disease
  • Lung cancer

Asbestos Awareness Online Course

Whether you are self-employed or employ staff that operate around asbestos, you must provide quality training regularly. We offer asbestos awareness courses that can be completed online. The HSE recommends that you undertake refresher training at least once a year. This way, you or your team can work safely at all times.

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How Long Does Asbestos Stay In The Air If Disturbed?

How Long Does Asbestos Stay in the Air

Although the use of asbestos was banned in the UK twenty years ago (and blue and brown asbestos banned over thirty years ago), it can still be present in buildings constructed before 2000. With approximately 13 people dying per day of asbestos related illnesses in the UK alone, it is important that exposure to asbestos is as limited as possible and that people are aware of how long asbestos can linger in the air if disturbed.

How long does it take for asbestos dust to settle?

Asbestos fibres are extremely light. These fibres are thinner than a strand of hair, are extremely sharp and can’t be seen with the naked eye or tasted. Once disturbed, asbestos can take 48 – 72 hours to settle.

Types of Asbestos

Whether you work in construction or another field that involves being exposed to asbestos, it is essential that you understand the dangers and how to stay safe. Symptoms and illnesses related to asbestos exposure take an extremely long time to surface, so it is important to remain vigilant at all times.

There are six different varieties of asbestos:

  • Chrysotile, also known as white asbestos
  • Amosite, also referred to as brown asbestos
  • Crocidolite, also called blue asbestos
  • Anthophyllite
  • Actinolite
  • Tremolite

How you handle asbestos depends on whether you are working with cement, sprayed asbestos, lagging, insulating  board, coating or other materials that are known to contain asbestos. The different methods of safe handling is one of the many reasons it is essential to undergo regular asbestos awareness training.

Both Amosite and Crocidolite were banned in the UK in 1985, followed by Chrysotile in 1999. Asbestos is still used overseas, so it is important to bear this in mind if you work abroad.

How long does asbestos remain in the air?

Asbestos can remain in the air for 48 – 72 hours due to the size and shape of the fibres. However, if there are air currents in the same room as the disturbed asbestos, they can linger in the air longer. It is when these fibres are airborne that they can be breathed in, potentially causing a variety of illnesses and diseases.

What to do if asbestos is disturbed

If you are working in an area and are worried that asbestos has been disturbed, it is important to act quickly:

  • Inform everyone working within the area and remove anyone who is not essential to reduce exposure.
  • Identify if possible what caused the asbestos to be disturbed and gain control if safe to do so.
  • Clean up any dust or debris and ensure that all cleaning products and protective equipment is either decontaminated or destroyed afterwards.
  • Ensure that everyone who was exposed is decontaminated.

Asbestos Awareness Training

If you work in an environment that means you may be in contact with asbestos, it is vital that you undergo informative training and that you take refresher courses regularly.

At Online Asbestos, we offer several asbestos awareness online training courses. All of these courses are approved by the appropriate bodies and will ensure that you and the team you are working with are kept up to date with your asbestos awareness training.

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How Many People Die Annually Due To Asbestos?

Annual Deaths Due To Asbestos

With the use of all types of asbestos banned in the UK construction industry since the 1990’s, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the number of people dying annually due to it would be low.

According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that an average of 13 people a day in the UK alone die from conditions and illnesses caused by previous exposure to asbestos. That’s 5,000 people every year – more than double the number of people who die on the UK’s roads.

And with asbestos still used in large quantities in many parts of the USA and Canada, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, it’s little wonder that the World Health Organisation estimates that 107,000 people die every year as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos.

Who Is At Risk From Asbestos?

Most cases of asbestos-related illness and death occur among those who worked directly with materials containing asbestos or asbestos itself – namely, those in the construction industry.

However, asbestos-related illnesses are not solely linked to those who were in direct and regular contact with the substance. Environmental exposure to asbestos has been seen to have been just as deadly.

In 2004, it was reported that teachers and hospital workers were among the top ten most frequently cited occupations on mesothelioma death certificates. In the US, one quarter of deaths from asbestos-related cancers occurred in those who had never worked directly with asbestos.

Which Countries See The Most People Die From Asbestos?

According to 2016 mortality data , the United States, China, UK, Japan and Italy saw the most deaths from asbestos-related cancers and illnesses. Germany, France, India, Canada, and Spain were also in the top ten.

This could be due to many factors, including continued use of asbestos, the time it takes for cancers and related illnesses to take hold, asbestos being disturbed in older buildings or properties, or even in part down to a number of everyday items that may contain asbestos.

What are some of the asbestos-related illnesses?

There are a number of malignant asbestos-related diseases, and a number that are possibly linked to asbestos exposure. The most common malignant asbestos-related disease is a type of cancer call mesothelioma. Other asbestos-related cancers include lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and laryngeal cancer.

There are also a number of cancers that are possibly linked to asbestos exposure, thus accounting for many of the global asbestos deaths. These include, but are not limited to, pharyngeal cancer, stomach cancer, and colon cancer.

UKATA Asbestos Awareness Course

If you work in an environment where you’re likely to disturb asbestos, you will need to undertake asbestos awareness training. Though the use of asbestos was banned in 1999, it is still present in buildings built before 2000 where it would have been used for insulation and fireproofing.

Our UKATA Approved Asbestos Awareness Training Course is a comprehensive online training solution which is easy to use, convenient and the most affordable UKATA course in the UK. It takes just two hours to complete and can be taken by both beginners and those who just need a refresher. Find out more here.

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Why Is Asbestos Banned?

Why is asbestos banned

Asbestos has been banned in the UK – and a number of other countries across the world – for a number of years. In short, asbestos was found to be hugely harmful for the human body. In fact, many asbestos-related injuries are fatal.

But, despite this, the banning of asbestos didn’t happen all at once. Here we will take a look at when and why asbestos was banned in the UK, as well as some of the key asbestos dangers to be aware of.

When was asbestos banned in the UK?

Asbestos was only fully banned from use in the UK construction industry as recently as 1999. While blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned in 1985, white (chrysotile) asbestos wasn’t banned until 15 years later. The 1999 blanket ban on asbestos meant that the manufacture and supply of all asbestos products is now illegal in the UK.

Why was asbestos banned in UK construction?

In short, we now know that asbestos is harmful to the human body.

If you inhale asbestos fibres, they can embed themselves in your lungs causing a number of asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and types of cancer including lung, laryngeal, and ovarian. Many of these asbestos related diseases are usually fatal.

At its peak in the 60’s and 70’s, asbestos was used in over 3000 products – including cement and a number of everyday items (https://www.onlineasbestos.co.uk/blog/what-everyday-items-may-contain-asbestos/) – and the UK was importing over 170,000 tonnes of asbestos a year.

Why then, did it take until the late 1980s and 1990s for asbestos to be banned in the UK? The biggest problem is that asbestos related illnesses take a long time to develop. In many cases the symptoms of such illnesses show a number of years after initial exposure.

If it’s so harmful, why was asbestos used?

Asbestos is now banned in the UK construction industry, despite it being a hugely popular material for decades before then. In fact, it is even believed that Romans were early adopters of asbestos, however they too noted a “sickness of the lungs” when exposed to it.

Thanks to the industrial revolution, asbestos became a widely used building material in the UK. It was cheap, strong, insulating, heat and fire resistant, sound absorbing, and above all – widely available. It’s easy to see why it became so popular.

UKATA asbestos awareness

Though the use of all forms of asbestos was banned in 1999, it is still present in buildings built before 2000. This means anyone working in the UK construction industry should always be cautious and mindful when working in older buildings.

The dangers of asbestos are not to be underestimated, which is why all employers have a legal duty under The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to provide workers with the appropriate information, instruction, and training necessary for working in an environment where it is likely they will come into contact with asbestos.

To find out more about our UKATA Asbestos Awareness course, click here (https://www.onlineasbestos.co.uk/courses/ukata-asbestos-awareness/).

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What Everyday Items May Contain Asbestos?

Everyday Items That Contain Asbestos

Back in 1999, the UK’s blanket-ban on asbestos came into force.

For decades, asbestos was favoured for its fire-retardant properties, and its ability to act as an insulator. Up until the late 1970s, it was still used in products used to help you get ready in the morning, help grow plants in your garden, and even cook your food.

It eventually became clear that asbestos could be extremely harmful if fibers are inhaled. Today then, you would be forgiven for thinking the products you buy, and those already in your home, are free of asbestos. As it turns out, there are a number of everyday items that may still contain the substance.

1. Hairdryers

Up until as recently as 1980, asbestos was found in most handheld hairdryers. As asbestos is most harmful when fibers are inhaled, it’s worrying that you could be blowing asbestos-contaminated air into your home.

In 1979, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission called on manufacturers to voluntarily recall products affected. Only a small percentage of the 18 million affected hairdryers were recovered.

2. Talcum powder

No parent would willingly put their baby at risk, which is why there was outcry recently when the US Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into whether leading baby-care brand, Johnson & Johnson, life to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder.

The Justice Department is looking at upwards of 14,000 lawsuits claiming that J&J’s talc products have caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a rare form of the disease linked to asbestos exposure. Johnson & Johnson vehemently deny the claims.

3. Toys

A 2015 report by CNN showed that four out of 28 boxes of crayons tested by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, tested positive for asbestos. The same report also found traces of the substance in two toy crime lab kits. Not an isolated incident, tests in 2000 and 2007 also found traces of harmful asbestos in crayons and toy fingerprint exam kits.

4. Small appliances

Historically, asbestos was used in small household appliances such as coffee pots, irons, and toasters. These products are potentially harmful as they may release asbestos fibers when disassembled. You also run the risk of asbestos exposure through frayed wires. Antiques and collectors should pay close care when handling old toasters, irons, and the like.

5. Heaters

One of the reasons asbestos was so widely used ahead of its ban was because it was heat resistant. Because of this, it may be found in older domestic heaters made before the 1980s. If you own an older property with affixed heaters, they could contain asbestos and having them at least inspected by a professional would be advisable.

If you’re one such professional, and you work in buildings built before 2000, you need asbestos awareness training. You can earn your UKATA Asbestos Awareness Training Certificate in just two hours with our online course. It’s the most popular UKATA asbestos awareness training, and can be taken fully online.

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Asbestos Laws and Legislation in the UK

Asbestos laws and legislation

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that was commonly used in construction prior to the 1980’s within the UK. Thousands of people die each year from asbestos related illnesses, leading to stricter regulations and an eventual ban on the use of the substance. 
Sadly, the substance is still used worldwide, so the number of deaths is continuing to increase.

Rules and regulations for the use of asbestos within the UK have evolved since the 1960’s to ensure that the substance was no longer used within construction, and that anyone handling or exposed to the substance was protected and educated on its dangers:

Asbestos Legislation In The 60’s

The Asbestos Regulations of 1969 were the first UK laws designed to help control asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Asbestos Legislation In The 80’s

Asbestos prohibition laws in the United Kingdom were first introduced in the mid-1980s. In 1985, the UK banned the import and use of blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos.

The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations were introduced in 1987 enforcing statutory control procedures to help control exposure to asbestos within the workplace.

Asbestos Legislation In The 90’s

In 1992 a law that also banned some uses of white (chrysotile) asbestos, traditionally considered less lethal than the other forms of the mineral, was introduced.  By 1999 the use and import of asbestos was banned in the UK.

The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations were, again, updated to make it mandatory to substitute other suitable, safer products for asbestos wherever possible within the workplace.

Asbestos Legislation In The 00’s

In 2002, the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations were amended yet again to require that all workplaces identify any existing asbestos or asbestos-containing materials and manage the asbestos to ensure the safety of workers.

The 2006 Control of Asbestos Regulation Act further built on this legislation to create one single law that prohibits the use, supply and importation of all asbestos. The act also set maximum exposure limits and demanded that anyone who was at risk of encountering asbestos on the job is trained in the proper handling of the material.

The following asbestos products and work activities relating to asbestos were outlawed in the UK by the Control of Asbestos Regulations Act, unless the products were manufactured prior to November 1999:

  • Spraying of asbestos materials as a surface coating
  • Use of low-density insulating or soundproofing materials made from asbestos
  • Importation of asbestos-containing products
  • Use of asbestos cement
  • Use of boards, panels or tiles covered in asbestos paint or plasters

Asbestos Legislation In The 2010’s

The updates to The Control of Asbestos Regulations Act in 2012 added more requirements to improve safety measures of non-licensed asbestos workers. 
Additional measures included: reporting non-licensed asbestos work to the relevant enforcing authority, keeping written records of the work and having workers under medical surveillance.  Again, this update was to further protect workers who may be exposed to the substance.

Exposure to asbestos remains a danger today, however there are a number of training courses that can be undertaken to advise and guide workers on how to remain safe when exposed to the substance.  The most popular are:

If you’re unsure which course is best your you and your workers, then please ask our team.