Dangers of Asbestos

Hover your mouse over each vertical panel below to find out more about asbestos.

  • What is asbestos?

    What is asbestos?

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. It is used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold), has good fire protection properties and protects against corrosion.

    Because asbestos is often mixed with another material, it's hard to know if you're working with it or not. But, if you work in a building built before the year 2000, it's likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos.

    Asbestos is found in many products used in buildings, including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.

  • Where it is found

    Where is Asbestos found?

    Asbestos fibers are incredibly strong and have properties that make them resistant to heat. Many products are in use today that contain asbestos. Most of these are materials used in heat and acoustic insulation, fire proofing, and roofing and flooring. Asbestos can be found in many places including -

    Asbestos cement products

    Textured coatings

    Floor tiles, textiles and composites

    Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns

    Asbestos insulating board


    Loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavity

  • Asbestos dangers

    What are the dangers of Asbestos?


    Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.

    Asbestos-related lung cancer

    Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.


    Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.

    Pleural thickening

    Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

  • Working with Asbestos

    Working with Asbestos

    If you need to work with asbestos, make sure that you:

    Use hand tools - not power tools

    Keep materials damp - not too wet

    Wear a properly fitted, suitable mask (eg. disposable FFP3 type). An ordinary dust mask will not be effective

    Don't smoke, eat or drink in the work area

    Double-bag asbestos waste and label the bags properly

    Clean up as you go - use a special (Class H) vacuum cleaner, not a brush

    After work, wipe down your overalls with a damp rag or wear disposable overalls (Type 5)

    Always remove overalls before removing your mask

    Don't take overalls home to wash

    Wear boots without laces or disposable boot covers

    Put disposable clothing items in asbestos waste bags and dispose of them properly

    Don't carry asbestos into your car or home

In addition to the health surveillance service, the occupational health services that we can provide include:

  • Pre-Placement Health Assessments
  • Fork Lift Truck Driver Health Assessments
  • Night Worker Health Assessments
  • DSE Assessments
  • Management Referrals
  • Sickness Absence Management
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) tier 3 and 4 Assessments
  • Driver Medicals
  • Noise Assessments
  • Biological Monitoring of urine for Isocyanates