On site, different clients have slightly different procedures (albeit all based around the HSE EM1 guidance leaflet).
We find that this can lead to confusion when operatives migrate to sites with different requirements.
Though inductions are site specific and include this information – it wasn’t always easy to remember who to call or how to react in an emergency situation.
Also, the HSE EM1 assumes that the operative who accidentally disturbs an asbestos containing material has an FFP3 dust mask, wet rags, an asbestos waste bag etc. to follow the instructions properly. We found that this wasn’t always going to be the case when disturbance wasn’t expected.
Every site already has a ‘spill kit’, so we realised it wouldn’t be much extra effort to put together an ‘Emergency Disturbance of Asbestos Kit’.
This kit is designed to help two or more operatives in the event of accidental disturbance.
Made of easily cleanable, but robust plastic, it remains on site during any destructive work to pre-2000 builds (after which it is unlikely asbestos was used).
The kit contains dust masks, industrial wet wipes (i.e. wet rags), waste bags and tape (for potentially contaminated clothing), type 5 coveralls (to change into if necessary), as well as laminated instructions for personal decontamination, and importantly, lists of client specific contact numbers for help with their internal procedures.
We hope never to have to use this emergency kit – and with good planning we should never have to. However, just because something is unexpected, it doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared for it.
We hope to minimise any exposure, or spread of asbestos in this simple, cheap but effective way.