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Hazard Related Topics


Asbestos is the collective name for a group of fibrous minerals which are mechanically strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. There are three main types of asbestos, commonly called white, brown and blue, these are:

  • Chrysotile (white)
  • Amosite (brown)
  • Crocidolite (blue)

Chrysotile (white) was the only form of asbestos that could be used in the UK, however new legislation in force from November 1999 has banned the use of chrysotile as well as the other forms. Chrysotile (white) asbestos was used in the UK mostly for the manufacture of asbestos cement products, asbestos textiles, and friction materials such as brake pads.

Amosite Asbestos (brown) and Crocidolite Asbestos (blue) - the two most dangerous forms of asbestos - have not been imported into or used in the UK for many years but they may be found within some existing structures.


The handling and removal of asbestos should only be undertaken by contractors licensed to do so.

The hazard of asbestos is the creation of small fibrous dust particles

In carrying out an Audit it is essential to identify:

  • The presence of any asbestos within the existing structure.
  • Any materials existing or specified that contain asbestos.
  • Any work activity that may give rise to asbestos dust particles.

Work activities liable to produce dust particles are:

  • Removal of asbestos insulation materials, roofing felts, floor tiles, textured paints, and plasters containing asbestos.
  • Installation, maintenance, repair and general handling of products containing asbestos.

It therefore follows that alternative products to asbestos should be specified at the design stage wherever possible.

Products containing asbestos include:

  • Asbestos cement products.
  • Insulation board.
  • Friction materials.

Relevant Legislation