" Addressing Asbestos Risk Management Issues "

By Somdev Mukherjee

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Asbestos had not been considered as a creator of health problems until quite recently. This had been perceived as an ideal building material that was not only inexpensive but also easy to use and having fire retardant and electrical resistance properties. However, the recent discovery that the airborne asbestos fibers once inhaled cannot be expelled by the lungs and can penetrate tissues and cause many serious health ailments has changed this perception altogether. Asbestosis, mesothelioma and cancer are some of the grave health hazards that have been found to be associated with the asbestos fibers.

A number of regulations have been made for controlling asbestos fiber spread and asbestos related diseases. However, the extent to which these will prove to be effective enough depends upon robust enforcement. There are asbestos substitutes that are readily available now. Hence the existing laws ought to be especially enforced with the effect of complete banning of asbestos usage and its replacement by usage of such substitutes.

The asbestos removal, refurbishment, maintenance and demolition work of your building needs to be effectively managed. You need to first find out whether the building you are staying in is free from asbestos or not. In case the building has asbestos-containing construction material then the building’s risk of releasing asbestos fibers is to be assessed.

Here are some points concerning planning for management of asbestos problems:

  • Carry out a desktop study. Take down whatever things you can find about the construction of your building. Verify plans, papers etc. and take note of any significant information that may be obtained from there.
  • Carry out an inspection thereafter of the building to make sure whether it contains asbestos. Clearly identify the parts/areas of the building where asbestos may be present and record them.
  • Then do an assessment of the extent of risk of asbestos fibers being released from the problem areas and into the air. Also ascertain the condition in which the problematic material lie and the probability of such material becoming damaged or disturbed so as to aggravate the risk.
  • Finally, draw out a suitable management plan. You may need to provide for sealing or encapsulation of the asbestos risk areas. If needed by such areas may need to be completely removed.
  • Conduct frequent checks to ensure that the condition of the risky material/part/area of building has not deteriorated.

The objects of drawing out any asbestos risk management plan is to arrange for safeguards and to provide a warning to people coming in at your building for some work or for residing. Acting following to the above suggestions will help you meet these objectives.


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Somdev Mukherjee is a Kolkata (India) based writer of articles, short stories, poems and web content related to finance, mortgage, debt consolidation, insurance, laws and other topics of interest.


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