The age of health and safety and the growing blame culture is making installations become more and more of a minefield. You can’t just go fit a window now. I heard a good anecdote earlier on today. We get told off for not using a ladder when we have to be half a foot off the ground, but rugby players can carry on playing with broken limbs and a bit of vaseline over deep tissues cuts and gouges!
We don’t do that many roofline jobs as we are primarily a window and door company and most people around here know us for that. But when we do land a roofline job, we have found that the last few jobs we have done we have come up against asbestos. It’s like a bus, you don’t get any for ages then you get two jobs in a row with the bloody stuff. Anyway, after downing tools, disposing of it in the proper manner and getting back on with it, we have looked into what the proper procedure and rules are when it comes to dealing with it. Talk about a grey area!
It turns out that we cannot find a single exact rule when it comes to working with or around asbestos. Do we get a professional company in to inspect the property before we go any further? Do we leave it to the customer even though the chances of them knowing if they have asbestos is slim to nothing? Do we dispose of it? Where can we take it? There is very little guidance and because of that it could cause potential problems in the future. What’s worse is that most types of asbestos look very similar, so if an installer doesn’t have a wealth of knowledge on the stuff, it will be very difficult for him to distinguish between what is the really bad stuff and what isn’t.
About a year ago, it became law for installers to have a ‘basic knowledge’ of asbestos. Unfortunately, the legislation doesn’t go any further than that. Ideally, a law which requires installers to know how to deal with asbestos properly and what company procedure should be when you come up against it is needed.
It’s not just the immediate effects of asbestos that needs to be considered. Things like asbestos dust on clothes is a problem. Imagine the issues if an installer came home with dust on his clothes and put the rest of his family at risk unwittingly?! In that scenario should they be all made to wear CIA style jump suits to make sure their whole body is covered?
All this is irrelevant. The way I see it, an inspection of the property needs to be done first before any quotations or work are carried out. Normal window companies won’t be able to do that unless they send all their installers on a course, which will cost. So the inspections would be left to the professionals, which I reckon would cost over £100 before any further work may have to be done. Imagine trying to sell that to a customer! All this in the effort to make that you as a company and your installers have your backs covered and done as much as you could to keep everyone involved safe.
But if asbestos rules do get tougher, is it going to put people off from having the work done? Imagine all companies having to explain to the customer that there has to be an expensive inspection first before anything moves further forward. It’s going to have two possible effects. First, it could just simply stop people having the work done in the first place. Or worse, for companies into over-cladding over the old roofline and causing further problems to the rest of the roof!
So, as I said, total grey area!
I deal with asbestos everyday on garage roofs. All asbestos cement. I sent the fitters on asbestos awareness courses for free in a local council hse initative.
the fitters wears masks and suits . they double wrap the asbestos cement in visquine, We then have an asbestos skip in which to put the asbestos .
Our waste carrying licence from the council states we carry asbestos cement , seems to tick all the right boxes
Unfortunately I don’t think Wakefield Council would provide that for free lol! But thanks for the info!
This Regulation came into force in 2004 – 8 years ago.!
We were told by an asbestos training company that it only became law last year, not 8. You can see why this is confusing, everyone seems to have different information on all areas of the issue.
Thanks for your comment!
This is a really interesting topic–thank you for bringing it up! Maybe this is just because I’m from the US and things are different, but why does there need to be a law? Why can’t companies just come up with their own asbestos policies. For example, if asbestos is found, the customer will be notified and all work will stop until customer makes a decision–to either hire another professional company to dispose of the asbestos or to hire your company to clean the asbestos as they proceed with the job. Your policy could state an additional asbestos cleaning fee etc,… Read more »
Hi US Chick! Great Britain is plagued with all sorts of laws and what we call ‘red tape’. It makes carrying out jobs in our industry very complicated because there are all sorts of rules and laws. What that also means is that there are a lot of grey areas and lots of uncertainty when it comes to things like this. Our Government would not allow companies to come up with their own policies when it comes to health and safety. Their policy is to create blanket laws covering all companies, not giving much consideration to individual circumstances or situations.… Read more »
Have you not heard of the CDM Regulations?