Presentation: Asbestos - the hidden killer

Report
Asbestos
The Hidden
Killer
Developed and presented by the CWU Safety team
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
The Aims and Objectives.
• Aims: to raise awareness of the possible
presence of Asbestos within BT Buildings,
Commercial and domestic premises.
• Objectives: to discuss prevention, hazards,
outline the risks, use practical examples, provide
further sources of guidance.
(The following information has been obtained from the CWU,
BT and the HSE.)
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Who is most at risk from Asbestos?
General maintenance staff
Telecommunications engineers
Cable layers
Computer installers
Building surveyors
Construction workers
Carpenters and Joiners
Electricians and Plumbers
This is not an exhaustive list
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According to the HSE
20 UK Trades people die of asbestos related diseases
Every Week.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that is mined from the
earth.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders
in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, tensile strength,
and its resistance to heat.
When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibres are often
mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Why is it dangerous?
• In its natural form, there is little danger from Asbestos, but when its fibres
are added to other materials, and these fibres are subsequently disturbed,
the danger significantly increases.
• If you inhale asbestos fibres, they can cause serious illnesses, that can
slowly manifest themselves over a period of between 20 – 50 years.
• These illnesses include Plural plaques (a thickening of the lung wall) and
Mesothelioma, a fatal and very painful lung cancer associated with exposure
to asbestos fibres. (If you are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, your life
expectancy is around 18 months.)
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Asbestos – Where can it be found?
Asbestos has been extensively used in the construction industry in the UK
between the 1950s and 1980s – although many buildings constructed up to
2000 (including BT buildings) may also be affected.
There are three main areas that can affect BT people.
1. BT Buildings.
2. BT’s External network.
3. Customers Premises.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Asbestos cement products - Hard sheets of grey coloured
material, often corrugated and used as external roofing, gutters, downpipes, external cladding and also used as cable ducting.
Asbestos cement is also very fragile and deaths and injuries from falls
through asbestos roofs are common.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) – Partition walls, Ceiling tiles,
Fireproofing panels in fire doors, window surrounds, and plasterboard.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between asbestos and Non asbestos
materials. If in doubt STOP. Asbestos insulating board easily releases fibres
into the air when disturbed.
DO NOT attempt to work on this material under any circumstances.
STOP work, inform your manager.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Lagging - Mostly found around boilers and pipe work. (Also found in BT
Power / Boiler rooms.) Some are coated and painted in various colours,
and may make it more difficult to identify.
Lagging is one of the most dangerous Asbestos based materials.
If in doubt STOP.
DO NOT attempt to work on this material under any circumstances.
STOP work, inform your manager.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Sprayed coatings – Often seen on structural beams and/or on walls
to create resistance to fire and heat – usually has a greyish colour and a
rough texture. (This is often seen in customer’s premises.) This contains
up to 85% asbestos and breaks up very easily.
DO NOT attempt to work on this material under any circumstances.
STOP work, inform your manager.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Loose fill asbestos - This was used to insulate industrial and domestic
premises and can be found in cavity walls, under floors and in loft spaces.
This is a loose, fluffy insulation material (similar to candy floss) which may be
blue-grey or off white in colour.
Loose fill is made up of pure asbestos. DO NOT attempt to work on this
material under any circumstances.
STOP work, inform your manager.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
BT Exchange Buildings
Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) can be found in BT’s Exchanges e.g.
MDF Frames and cable holes.
GATE TYPE FRAME
FUSE 28
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Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
BT Exchange Buildings
Cable holes between rooms and floors
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Working on Customers premises
BT people who work in these premises must ask the customer about
hazards on site, which must include any asbestos on site.
This should be done as part of their Personal On Site Risk Assessment.
Work on Customers’ premises undertaken by BT people may disturb
asbestos based materials,
e.g. drilling into walls, removing wall panels, ceiling tiles, false ceilings, in
riser cupboards and awkward to get at locations.
(This is not an exhaustive list.)
If in any doubt ask your manager to contact BT Safety Services for advice
on: 0800 780 783.
All staff should revisit their Personal On Site Risk Assessment on a regular
basis.
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CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Training
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 require mandatory training for
anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work.
Training for asbestos work is divided into three main categories.
Asbestos Awareness training, non-Licensed training, and Licensed training.
•Asbestos Awareness {All BT Staff}
BT Staff in all LOB’s require this training. {Ask your manager to check RTL}
•Non-Licensed Asbestos Work {May apply to some BT staff}
Can apply to maintenance workers and their supervisors, planning and
survey staff.
•Licensed Asbestos Work {Not normally applicable for BT staff}
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
BT’s Management of Asbestos Process
BT has adopted a structured approach to asbestos management which is
detailed in the Health and Safety Handbook - ISIS - SFY/HSH/D055.
It is BT’s policy to eliminate and prevent exposure to asbestos, to all BT
people, including visitors to BT premises.
BT also commission Asbestos surveys that indicate where asbestos is
known to exist.
This information is recorded on BT’s HMIS system. (The system can be
accessed as outlined in Appendix 4 of ISIS SFY/HSH/D055.)
It is important to note that there are limitations to the Asbestos surveys
commissioned by BT. It must be assumed that all areas are possible
asbestos areas and a risk assessment of likelyhood of exposure to
asbestos must be carried out in all cases before works commence.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Protect yourself and others with a few simple steps.
• Always conduct a robust Personal On Site Risk Assessment.
• Be aware “Think Asbestos”.
• If in any doubt, STOP! Do not proceed without evidence that all is clear.
• Contact – your manager, and your local CWU Union Safety Rep.
• Get professional advice from BT Safety Services on: 0800 780 783.
• Report any suspect sites or areas in sites to Monteray on: 0800 22 33 88.
• Personal On Site Risk Assessment – Keep reviewing it throughout the job.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Previously asked questions
“ I am under pressure to get all my jobs done, If I followed all the rules, I’d
never get anything done. How do I explain that to the boss?”
Is it worth cutting corners just to get the job done? NO.
Would your boss risk his life to get the job done? NO.
Does BT expect you to comply with the law? YES
You should not feel pressurised into risking your safety by your boss.
If you are, contact the CWU.
“Your overreacting. How can the way I work affect anyone else?”
Your actions may be risking the lives of those around you – e.g. fellow
workers, the public, or even children and their teachers if you are
working in a school.
Follow your conscience. You are responsible.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Managers watching workers shovel Asbestos into oil drums at a workers
sports day event at Wittenoom Asbestos mine in Australia in 1966.
Thankfully our managers and workers are not this naive !!!!
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Ask yourself this……
If we accept that we are required to wear seat belts in a vehicle to protect ourselves
from potential injury, then why do we not accept the need to protect ourselves at
work from dangers like Asbestos exposure, which is something far more sinister?
If Asbestos related illness doesn't manifest itself for more than 20 years, do you
really want to be thinking, “Have I exposed anyone to asbestos today?”
Could you live with that thought?
Remember
All BT information on Asbestos can be found in the Health & Safety handbook,
which can be accessed from all LOB’s home pages. If you suspect that you may
have been exposed to Asbestos contact your USR or manager who can arrange for
the incident to be recorded on the Asbestos Register.
CWU Union Safety Reps also have access to vast amounts of information covering
all Health & Safety topics and will assist with All enquiries from All staff In
confidence.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Asbestos!
Be Aware
If in doubt……
ASK
You may be glad you did.
CWU Safety
Asbestos – the Hidden Killer
Thank you for your time
Any Questions
CWU Safety

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