Health and safety

Asbestos in the home

How can you identify asbestos products?

The supplier or manufacturer of a building material or appliance may be able to tell you whether it contains asbestos.

If you are unsure if a product contains asbestos, you could arrange for a sample to be tested, or treat suspect products as if they contain asbestos. Firms that analyse products for asbestos are generally listed in phone directories under laboratories or analytical research chemists. Alternatively, you could contact UKAS by email or call 02089 178400 for information on accredited bodies.

If you employ trades persons to work on your home, you must inform them of your suspicions/knowledge relating to the presence of asbestos.

Where is asbestos used in homes?

Asbestos can be found in a variety of articles within the home from garage roofs and guttering to ironing boards. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Asbestos website provides further information about common forms/locations within the home.

What should you do if asbestos is discovered?

Check the materials are in good condition and not worn or damaged. In many cases, Asbestos materials in good condition may be left in place.

If asbestos material is damaged or the surface has begun to erode it should be treated or removed.

The HSE provide a variety of essential task sheets relating to the identification, treatment and removal of asbestos.

What should you do with asbestos waste?

You cannot dispose of asbestos waste within your council bin or civic amenity site

Disposal of asbestos waste can be difficult as there are no sites licensed to accept asbestos waste within the Scottish Borders. Should you wish to transport asbestos waste to a licensed site yourself, a waste transfer licence is required. Please contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency for further information.

Although you can arrange to transfer asbestos waste to a disposal site yourself, due to the requirements imposed, many find use of a licensed contractor as cost effective and less complicated.

As transportation costs account for a portion of the licensed contractors fees, it may be more economical for neighbouring properties to arrange collective disposal. Your local community council may be able to assist co ordinate.

Where can you get further advice?

The manufacturer, installer or retailer of equipment may be able to advise whether it contains asbestos, and recommend remedial measures.

Visit HSE website for FAQs on asbestos identification, removal and potential health risks.

You can download guidance notes on asbestos, published by the HSE. Hard copies are available for purchase from HSE Books, phone 01787 881165.