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Guidance Regarding Asbestos


Do you work with, or come into contact with, asbestos?

Asbestos is the largest single cause of workrelated fatal disease and ill health in Great Britain. Almost all asbestosrelated deaths and ill health are from exposures several decades ago, but if you work with asbestos, or come into contact with it during repair and maintenance work, you are at risk. You should avoid working with asbestos if possible, but if not you must do it safely.

Asbestos can be found in buildings built from 1950 to 1985 in many forms. It may also be found in some vehicle brake pads and clutch linings.

  • Do you know whether there is asbestos in your premises? It is often found in roofs and exterior walls, boilers, vessels and pipework, ceilings, interior walls and panels, flooring materials, air handling systems, domestic appliances, brake/clutch linings, fire blankets, etc.
  • Does your work involve maintenance and repair of premises? You might disturb asbestos while doing routine work.
  • Do you know what the rules are about removing asbestos? In most cases, you will need to use a contractor licensed by HSE to work with asbestos.
  • Would you know how to find someone licensed to do this work?
  • Do you know whether there is asbestos in any of the materials you work with?

What law applies?

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006

Do you work with hazardous substances?

Thousands of people are exposed to all kinds of hazardous substances at work. These can include chemicals that people make or work with directly, and also dust, fume and bacteria which can be present in the workplace. Exposure can happen by breathing them in, contact with the skin, splashing them into the eyes or swallowing them. If exposure is not prevented or properly controlled, it can cause serious illness, including cancer, asthma and dermatitis, and sometimes even death.

  • Do you use chemicals at work (including cleaning materials)?
  • Do you know suppliers of hazardous substances have to provide information to users, including safety data sheets and proper labelling?
  • Is there dust and fume present in your workplace?
  • Do you have any water systems which could be colonised by legionella?
  • Do you work with animals or their products? These may cause skin or respiratory sensitisation or be infected with bacteria or viruses.

What law applies?

  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) (as amended)
  • Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002 (as amended)
  • Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002

Falls from a height

Do you perform work at height and if so is it done safely?

Falls from height at work account for around 60 deaths and just under 4000 major injuries each year. One of the main causes is falls from ladders. To help prevent falls from height, make sure you consider the risks to all your workers, the work is planned, organised and carried out by competent people and you follow the hierarchy for managing risks. Make sure workers are properly trained andsupervised, have the right equipment and know how to use it safely.

  • Do you carry out simple maintenance or cleaning tasks that require working where you could hurt yourself if you fell?
  • Can you avoid the need to work at height? For example, could the work bedone using longhandled tools or by bringing it down to ground level?
  • Do you have the most appropriate equipment for the job? It may often be saferto use a tower scaffold or mobile elevating work platform than a ladder.
  • Is the equipment you have well maintained and do your employees know how to use it safely?

What law applies?

  • Work at Height Regulations 2005
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

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