Asbestos safety

How to protect yourself against asbestos

What is asbestos?

In good condition, asbestos is not a risk to your health. Asbestos is a strong, naturally occurring material that can resist heat and chemicals. It was commonly used in building materials between the 1950s and 1980s both as a general building material and as fireproofing. Products containing asbestos can look the same as those that do not. Often the difference can only be seen under a microscope when tested in a special laboratory.

What are the health risks?

You are not at risk if parts of your home contain asbestos, as long as it is undisturbed and undamaged. You are only at risk if you do DIY including drilling, sawing, scrubbing and sanding, to those parts of your home which may contain asbestos. DIY can result in brief but high levels of exposure to asbestos fibres that put you and your family at serious risk. Exposure to asbestos can be fatal.

Where can asbestos be found?

Remember – not all homes contain asbestos. All homes built after 2000 will be free of asbestos because it was banned from use in construction materials at that time. This diagram shows you where asbestos is commonly found (click image to enlarge).

What if I think there is asbestos in my home?

We are committed to removing health risks posed by asbestos. We have surveyed most of our properties so we are aware of the presence, the type, and the condition of any asbestos there might be in your home. Where asbestos is present we arrange for tests to be carried out. If the asbestos is in a good condition, we leave it in place. However, if the asbestos is in a bad condition, it is removed or made safe by specialist contractors.

We keep a list of properties where asbestos has been found or is believed to exist. The list is updated each time we carry out a new survey.

What safety measures are in place when work is carried out on my home?

We let our staff and contractors know if asbestos is present so they can take extra care when carrying out any work that needs to be done. Any repairs or major works undertaken in tenant's homes by our contractors includes a risk assessment to check whether they are likely to disturb asbestos. Where asbestos is found to be damaged or may be disturbed it will be managed safely either by encapsulation or removal by specialist contractors.

What should I do when I want to do DIY at home?

If you’re planning to do some DIY, please contact us so we can check our records and let you know if any asbestos is present and to offer advice.

How do I get rid of asbestos in household items?

Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove or work on any items you think may contain asbestos. It is illegal to dispose of any materials that contain asbestos as regular waste and you may be liable to prosecution.

Advice for leaseholders

Under the terms of the lease, leaseholders are responsible for all fixtures and fittings within their property, including artex ceilings and floor tiles. Hastoe is responsible for the building structure.

  • Leaseholders must make their own arrangements for removal unless the work is part of a major project for which Hastoe is responsible, such as external work. Before starting any DIY activities on products that may contain asbestos, leaseholders should seek specialist advice.
  • Leaseholders must arrange surveys and removal themselves. All work must be carried out by approved contractors licensed with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Any asbestos removed from the property must be disposed of by approved asbestos removal contractors and in line with strict legislation. Materials containing asbestos must never be disposed of as part of general waste. Failure to dispose of it properly may result in prosecution. If leaseholders have asbestos removed or sealed, they should inform us and future owners so that this information can be passed on for the safety of others.
  • Licensed asbestos removal contractors can be found on the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) website.
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