E-fact 48: Safe maintenance — asbestos in building maintenance

EU & international information
EU
English
2010

Popis

Asbestos is the collective name for several naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that can be separated into thin, durable threads. It was once widely used because of its properties: it is heat resistant, it withstands acids and other chemicals, and it is a good insulator. Although the use of asbestos has been banned in the EU, millions of cubic metres of materials containing asbestos are still in place in buildings. Building maintenance workers are at a high risk of coming into contact with asbestos when working on insulation in buildings and industrial installations such as pipes, roofs and walls. This e-fact aims to help building maintenance companies and workers become more aware of the risks of asbestos, and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent exposure to hazardous asbestos fibres.

Other data

Sector / Industry covered: 
Opravy a údržba lodí a člunů
STAVEBNICTVÍ
Provider: 
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Tasks covered: 
Construction
Installing or Removing Insulation
Hazard - physical state: 
Dusts
Fibres
Vapours
Hazard - health effects: 
Carcinogens
Exposure route: 
Ingestion
Inhalation
Substance Description: 


Asbestos is the collective name for several naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that can be separated into thin, durable threads. It was once widely used because of its properties: it is heat resistant, withstands acids and other chemicals, is a good insulator, has a high strength and can be woven. The main forms are: chrysotile or white asbestos; crocidolite or blue asbestos; amosite, also known as gruenerite or brown asbestos; anthophyllite; actinolite.

Depending on the type of the fibres and the level and duration of exposure these health problems can develop into: asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage; lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen; to non-malignant pleural lesions, known as pleural plaques.


CAS Number: 
12172-73-5
EC number: 
601-801-3
Prevention measures: 
Level 1. Elimination of hazards
Level 1. Substitution
Level 2. Technical measures, e.g. local exhaust ventilation
Level 2. Reducing / minimising the risk by organisational measures, e.g. reducing the number of workers exposed
Level 3. Reducing / minimising the risk by personal measures (PPE)
Training / guidance
Hygiene measures
Purpose of the material: 
Awareness raising
General information
Guidance
Target group: 
Employers
Managers
OSH consultant
Safety officers
Workers

Access tool