Working with asbestos containing roofing materials

Following on from our previous article – 5 common questions about the use of asbestos in roofing materials – I’d like to explain to you the process of how we, as a professional industrial roofing contractor, deal with asbestos containing roofing materials.

You are probably already aware that asbestos “is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK” as detailed by the Health and Safety Executive.

This is why legislation – The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – has been put in place to protect roofing contractors, building owners, tenants and the general public from the dangers and risks associated with asbestos containing roofing materials. These regulations ensure that working with asbestos containing roofing materials is carried out with minimum risk and protects the safety for everyone involved.

Who is responsible for the management of asbestos?

In all cases, the building owner or tenant is completely responsible for the management of asbestos in their building. In order to protect the safety of those inside the building, and any industrial roofing contractor, there must be an asbestos register held on site of the specific locations where asbestos is present.

If you think asbestos containing materials are present, but you don’t have a record of the location, the best course of action is to arrange a roof survey and inspection.

6 different types of asbestos

Asbestos Containing Roofing Materials

Asbestos Containing Roofing Materials

There are 6 unique type of asbestos (as detailed by Asbestos.com)

  1. Chrysotile
  2. Amosite
  3. Crocidolite
  4. Tremolite
  5. Anthophyllite
  6. Actinolite

There are different procedures associated with each type of asbestos, however, here at Industrial Roofing Scotland, the main type of asbestos that we work with is Chrysotile, which is commonly found in older roofing materials in Scotland.

How Industrial Roofing Scotland work with asbestos containing roofing materials

Asbestos Containing Roofing Material

Asbestos Containing Roofing Material

As mentioned in a previous article about asbestos, and at the time of writing this article, the industrial roofing contractor that you hire does not have to be licensed to work with most common forms of asbestos.

However, it’s crucial that the contractor that you do hire are fully trained to safely work with asbestos, and understand the legislation for working with asbestos, in order to protect our workers and others from exposure to asbestos fibres as much as reasonably practicable.

The following steps contain a brief overview of the process we follow to eliminate and minimise exposure to asbestos if asbestos is suspected to be contained within the roofing materials that we are about to work with:

  • Step 1 – Initial roof inspection and survey – determine the current state of repair of the roofing area.
  • Step 2 – Risk assessment and method statement – carried out to ensure the safety of our workers whilst working on the roof and to also provide an audit trail and formal due diligence.
  • Step 3 – Confirmation of the type of asbestos – we take a sample of the roof and send it away to be checked to find out what type of asbestos is contained in the roofing material.
  • Step 4 – Type of asbestos is established – now we can take appropriate action and supply the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and put in place the correct procedures for working with the specific type of asbestos.
  • Step 5 – Protection of the building occupants – we will layout polythene beneath the working area to capture any dust particles. We will also cordon off areas in the building whilst work is being carried out – the building may not have to be evacuated, but this depends on the specific circumstances. In most cases we try to work with controlled safe zones to protect people from asbestos fibres and allow normal work to continue.
  • Step 6 – Controlled disposal – The asbestos containing material is double bagged and marketed ‘asbestos’ for safe disposal.
  • Step 7 – Due diligence – we create a formal paper audit trail for the whole process to prove that we have completed everything correctly and to ensure correct procedures and legislation have been followed. This would also be logged in your asbestos register that is kept on site.

What you should do next

If you suspect or you are aware that your roof is built with asbestos containing material, the best thing to do is to not disturb it unless it’s absolutely necessary. The very best course of action to ensure your roof is in safe working condition is to arrange planned preventative maintenance and/or a roof inspection by an industrial roofing contractor.

If you are looking for more information about asbestos please following these links to other helpful online asbestos resources:

Your turn

  1. Are you aware of asbestos in your building?
  2. Do you suspect that asbestos may be present in your roofing material?
  3. Have you arranged for your roof to be regularly inspected?

Call Industrial Roofing Scotland today on 01592 372573 for a professional and experienced asbestos roofing service.

Have a great day.

Jamie.