Asbestos & Information for the General Public
When the word Asbestos is mentioned, or asbestos stickers are seen on a building material many people feel a sense of panic as they associate this with ill health and possibly death-the common myth that one fibre is enough to kill is also often mentioned. Asbestos is only a problem when fibres are released and inhaled, and usually, this would be in very large quantities to cause any risk of decease. There is no cause for alarm in the overwhelming majority of these situations.
Working in a building that has Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs)
If you work in a building that contains asbestos your employer will have to ensure that it is safe for you to work, there as a legal requirement.
Public Buildings (including schools, hospitals theatres and shops)
When attending or using any public buildings there will, by law, be a duty holder(s) who take responsibility for identifying and managing any asbestos in their building(s) keeping it in good condition and ensuring no fibres are released. See the section Duty to Manage for more details. No building should contain ANY asbestos if it was built after the start of the year 2000.
When buying a home
When buying your own home, you will need to have a survey to satisfy the mortgage company, it is a good idea to have a full survey which should identify any asbestos (along with any other issues with the property) that are present in the property you are intending to buy. You can then make an informed decision about whether to you want to buy the property. No building in the UK should have ANY asbestos in them if built after the year 2000 as ALL asbestos was banned in the UK at the end of 1999.
When renting from a landlord
When renting a home or premises the landlord has a Duty if Care to provide a safe place for you to live, if you have a lease where the landlord is responsible for repairs then you should never have to disturb the fabric of the building, if however, you are in the unusual position that you are responsible for the repairs, information about the property you rent should be given to you for you to share with any contractors you may appoint. Contractors also have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Common areas of the premises will need to be surveyed to identify any asbestos and this will need to be managed by the landlord. Whilst the flat itself does not fall into this category the landlord still must provide a safe place for you to live-if you are concerned about the property you rent you must speak to your landlord as soon as possible.