Advice from UK HSE:-
Asbestos could be present in any building that was built or refurbished before the year 2000.
a) Before starting refurbishment or demolition work make sure the building has been checked for asbestos-containing materials and plan the work to avoid disturbing these materials if possible
b) If asbestos is found and will be disturbed during work make sure it is removed and handled correctly. This may mean using licensed asbestos contractors if the asbestos materials are sprayed coatings, board or insulation, lagging on pipes and boilers.
c) Provide basic awareness training for workers to help them recognise asbestos-containing materials on site.
Note: Basic awareness training does not train workers to carry out non-licensed work with asbestos.
5 April 2011 - A property developer put his workers at risk by failing to identify the presence of asbestos before allowing them to start work on a nightclub in Wrexham.
The property developer was given a suspended sentence of eight months for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations. He was also given a 12 month suspended sentence for breaching Section 33 (1)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and eight months suspended sentence for the offence contrary to Regulation 19 of the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005. In addition, he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and to pay costs of £10,000 over two years.
18 April 2011 - A contracting firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,064 in costs after workers at a major renovation site in Plymouth were exposed to asbestos containing material
When am I at risk?
You are mostly at risk when:
Remember, as long as the asbestos is not damaged or located somewhere where it can be easily damaged it won’t be a risk to you.
Are you sure that you don’t come in to contact with asbestos?
If you work in any of the following occupations, and are working on a building built or refurbished before 2000, you may come in to contact with asbestos:
This list does not include all occupations where you may come in to contact with asbestos. Some of the places where you may find it can be found in our interactive diagram.
It’s not easy to tell asbestos from how it looks, and it needs to be properly identified in a specialist laboratory. But here are a few examples; some pictures are also featured in the asbestos picture gallery:
Some of the examples listed above can only be carried out by a contractor who has been granted a licence from HSE, details of this can be found in the licensing section of this website. Other jobs can be carried out using the task sheets, (make sure you use the correct sheet for the job). Also check the equipment and method sheets for details on what to use and how.
How do I deal with asbestos waste?
Make sure you double-bag it and label as asbestos waste. You can then get in contact with the Local Authority or Environment Agency to find out if they will assist you in disposing of it, they may charge for this service. Alternatively, you can contact the Environment Agency  or if based in Scotland, SEPA . The waste must be disposed of at a licensed tip.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos has been used in products, such as insulation for pipes (steam lines for example), floor tiles, building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered. Heavy exposures tend to occur in the construction industry and in ship repair, particularly during the removal of asbestos materials due to renovation, repairs, or demolition. Workers are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.
What are the hazards of asbestos?
Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and its use is now highly regulated by both OSHA and EPA. Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and smokers are at higher risk of developing some asbestos-related diseases. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach.
What can be done to reduce the hazards of asbestos?
Worker exposure to asbestos hazards are addressed in specific OSHA standards for the construction industry, general industry and shipyard employment sectors. These standards reduce the risk to workers by requiring that employers provide personal exposure monitoring to assess the risk and hazard awareness training for operations where there is any potential exposure to asbestos. Airborne levels of asbestos are never to exceed legal worker exposure limits. Where the exposure does, employers are required to further protect workers by establishing regulated areas, controlling certain work practices and instituting engineering controls to reduce the airborne levels. The employer is required to ensure exposure is reduced by using administrative controls and provide for the wearing of personal protective equipment. Medical monitoring of workers is also required when legal limits and exposure times are exceeded.
Information is available from the National Awareness Coordinator for the Mesothelioma Center (Asbestos.com). With more than 3,000 pages of content, the site features information on asbestos, mesothelioma, and other cancers that are caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos.com has achieved HON code approval (Health On the Net (HON) Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation that works to preserve the accuracy and trustworthiness of Web-based medical informa! tion). The site has a team of writers dedicated to research and writing about asbestos exposure and the diseases that result from exposure to the toxic mineral. They have medical advisers with many years experience in cancer treatment.
See also http://www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com/