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Asbestos: the hidden killer

Asbestos: the hidden killer

Did you know that every week 20 tradesmen die from asbestos-related disease?

The greatest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK is attributed to asbestos.

Working in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive's Hidden Killer Campaign, we aim to raise awareness amongst tradesmen that they are at risk from exposure to asbestos.

Advice on managing asbestos in workplaces is available from Chesterfield Borough Council's health and safety team.



You are likely to come across asbestos in your work if you are a:

  • plumber
  • heating and ventilation engineer
  • joiner
  • plasterer
  • or work in a similar trade

Asbestos may be in or on:

  • ceiling tiles
  • coatings on ceilings, walls and stairwells (textured coatings)
  • sprayed coatings on ducts, pipes and some ceilings
  • boards around radiators, windows, fireplaces, building columns, pillars
  • inside fire doors
  • soffit boards
  • insulation on pipes
  • sealants on pipe joints, gaskets
  • ropes and yarns
  • fuse boxes
  • electrical switchgear
  • water tanks
  • cement products, roof sheets, down pipes
  • bitumen roofing material
  • vinyl and thermoplastic floor tiles

To minimise the danger of asbestos, it is important to minimise dust.

  • Keep materials damp but not wet.
  • Use hand tools, not power tools.
  • Clean as you go.
  • Use a special (class H) vacuum cleaner, not a brush.
  • Double-bag asbestos waste and label the bags properly.
  • Wear suitable disposable overalls that you don't take home.
  • Wear boots without laces or with disposable boot covers.
  • Wear a properly fitted, suitable mask (eg, disposable FFP3 type).
  • If you take a break, don't smoke, eat or drink in the work area.

If you own, occupy or have responsibilities for non-domestic premises that may contain asbestos, you will either have:

  • a legal duty to manage the risk from this material or
  • a duty to co-operate with whoever manages the risk

If you are one of the above, then visit the Duty to Manage Asbestos webpage for further information on these duties and how to comply.

For the most up-to-date and comprehensive information, please visit the Health and Safety Executive asbestos website. This website provides more information about:

  • where you may find asbestos
  • what asbestos looks like
  • how to work where asbestos may be found
  • how to manage asbestos in buildings

Last updated on 28 January 2018