Asbestos

Asbestos is harmful and can cause serious diseases. It is a material that has been used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold). Asbestos could be in any building that was built or refurbished before 2000. Building materials that contain asbestos include:

  • ceiling tiles
  • floor tiles
  • window panels
  • pipe insulation
  • boilers
  • sprayed coatings.

Why is it harmful?

Asbestos is a hidden killer. It can cause these four serious diseases listed below:

  • mesothelioma - a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs and the lower digestive tract
  • asbestos-related lung cancer  - the same as lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes
  • asbestosis - a serious scarring condition of the lungs that can cause shortness of breath
  • pleural thickening - thickening and swelling of the lining of the lung causing it to be squeezed, leading to shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

Asbestos notification for licensed contractors

Licensed contractor will need to provide 14 days notice about work with asbestos insulation, asbestos coating or asbestos insulating board in offices, shops and warehouses.

We also have the right to assess the proposals and inspect the site, before or during the work. If the work is in a factory or public building, you should send the notification to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Unlicensed asbestos notifications

All unlicensed work needs to be carried out with the appropriate controls in place. But for notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW), employers also have additional requirements to:

  • notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority;
  • ensure medical examinations are carried out; and
  • maintain registers of work (health records).

For further details, including how to notify your relevant enforcing authority please visit the HSE's website.

Asbestos in the home

Find out how to deal with asbestos in the home

The City of London operates a Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Disposal Service (HWCDS) on behalf of 31 of the 32 London Boroughs (the exception being the London Borough of Hillingdon) and the City of London.

The service is able to arrange for the removal of wrapped asbestos and packaged chemicals from households. If you find that you have either asbestos or chemicals to dispose of you will need to complete the online form with the details of what needs to be collected.

Asbestos in the workplace

If you run a small business, such as a shop and small industrial unit, you can use the HSE's managing my asbestos guide to help you protect your workers, understand your obligations and make plans to manage your asbestos.