Try The Asbestos Awareness Test Here.

Discovering asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in any residential, commercial or public building constructed or renovated up until the end of the twentieth century is still a deadly health risk to this day. In 2011, there were 725 newly assessed cases of asbestosis and 440 cases of diffuse pleural thickening. In 2010, the Mesothelioma register recorded 2,347 people who lost their lives to from mesothelioma. (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit – IIDB).

Despite an estimated four million properties around Britain still likely to harbour ACMs, in recent blog postings at WESolicitors we mention the persistence appearance of cases, which come to court suggesting there can be sometimes still a lack of adequate asbestos awareness among some ordinary builders and tradesman. Just one in eight claim to have a good working knowledge or are qualified in handling the insulating material.

The lives of ordinary people, from estate tenants and office workers to hospital staff, teachers and pupils continue to be put at risk, mostly because of insufficient communication between different contractors, which leads to neglect of basic procedures involving asbestos surveys and proper waste disposal.

In recent years, responsible construction trade organisations and asbestos disposal firms have been working hard to regularly provide key asbestos information and training for their industry members. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), frequently rollout asbestos awareness campaigns to bring the message home that asbestos is still a hidden killer in twenty-first century Britain.

Basic Information

Everyone should arm themselves with the most basic of information about where asbestos can be found in buildings and what to do before, during and after hidden asbestos is uncovered.

HSE have devised a basic asbestos knowledge test, with six simple questions aimed at those who are likely to carry our building / DIY work that everybody can try. The answers may be surprising and give pause for thought.

You can try it for yourself here…

( Answers at bottom of page)

Q1 Which of these buildings should NOT contain asbestos?

A 2001 New Build house
B 1980s office
C 1970s hospital
D 1960s factory

Q2 Which of the following types of asbestos work can you carry out WITHOUT an asbestos licence?

A Work on any pipe or boiler lagging
B Work with broken asbestos insulating board
C Remove sprayed asbestos
D Drill one hole in asbestos insulating board

Q3 What does asbestos awareness training teach you?

A To use and fit a face-mask
B Where you might find asbestos
C What type of overalls to wear
D To deal with asbestos waste

Q4 Which of the following should NOT be used for non-licensed asbestos work?

A An ordinary dust mask
B Disposable overalls (Type 5)
C A disposable FFP3 mask
D Boots without laces

Q5 How can I tell if a material is asbestos?

A Taste – a dry sort of taste
B If it looks fluffy or flakey
C The colour, mainly
D By having a sample tested

Q6 If I’m working on a non-domestic building, by law what should I be given?

A Information about the location and condition of asbestos
B The asbestos survey
C Asbestos disposal bags



Q1 (A): Any building built or refurbished before asbestos was banned as a building material at the end of 1999 could contain asbestos in many forms.

Q2 (C): Normally, non-licensed work includes work on asbestos containing textured coatings, asbestos cement and certain work of short duration ( less than one hour) on asbestos insulating board.

Q3 (B): Training is a legal requirement and awareness training alone is not enough. If asbestos is to be disturbed, a job-specific non-licensed training is required as well as awareness training. Without taking proper precautions, disturbing asbestos could release dust containing invisible asbestos fibres into the air.

Q4 (A): An ordinary dusk mask will not be effective protection as the asbestos fibres are too small.

Q5 (D): Asbestos fibres are actually too small to see and the only way to tell for sure is for a sample of asbestos to be tested in a laboratory. HSE research shows that some people believe asbestos can be identified using their senses, which is not true.

Q6 (A): Duty-holders or people in charge of workplace buildings have a legal duty to provide up-to-date information on the location and condition of asbestos before work commences. Information from a survey might be included in the information given.

Click here to find out more about “Asbestos –Hidden Killer” at the HSE website.