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Asbestos Ahlsell


Although asbestos is not used today, it can still be found in older buildings. Risks arise during e.g. demolition and renovation, when asbestos is released and can be inhaled into the lungs. Inhalation of asbestos can lead to serious lung diseases such as asbestos lung cancer, lung cancer and pleural or peritoneal cancer. Proper protection and procedures are required to reduce the risks associated with these jobs.

Active protection against asbestos

The following provide a good foundation for protecting against asbestos:

Everyone who works in an environment where there is asbestos must undergo training in order to learn how to handle it safely.

Organization and methods
The employer must organize the work and have chosen methods that effectively limit the spread of asbestos and ensure that the concentration in the work environment is not too high.

The right equipment
With exposure to the microscopic fibers, it is important to have the right equipment. A compressed air-fed full-face mask with a safety pressure relief valve and an escape filter must be used when working indoors. Full-body coveralls and an airlock for entry and exit are also some of the measures that must be in place. Read more about equipment for outdoor work under Demolition outdoors below.

Protective equipment against asbestos

Here you’ll find products that protect you against asbestos.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a collective term for several minerals found in nature. The dominant asbestos variety is chrysotile (white asbestos). Asbestos has long been popular due to its valuable technical properties, but is currently banned due to health risks. As long as it is untouched, usually in older buildings and properties, it is not dangerous. But during demolition and renovation, the fibers are released and can cause serious illnesses.

What are the risks of asbestos?

When materials containing asbestos are processed or torn down, a large amount of asbestos fibers are released and will float in the air for a long time, as the fibers are extremely light and thin. Inhaling these can cause several serious lung diseases, such as scarring of the lungs, reduced lung capacity and cancer. The most common type of cancer is mesothelioma, a very serious tumor that claims the lives of approximately one hundred people in Sweden each year.

Slow progression

The symptoms after working unprotected with asbestos only appear after 20–40 years. According to the National Board of Health and Welfare’s cancer register, approximately 100 people per year still die of mesothelioma as a result of previous exposure to dust that contained asbestos.

Safe asbestos removal

Working in environments with asbestos requires protective equipment and procedures that are out of the ordinary. What is usually sufficient, such as work gloves and half-masks, does not protect when exposed to asbestos fibers.

Work safely with asbestos

Depending on the type of work performed, there are different requirements for respiratory protection.

  • Indoor demolition:

When demolishing asbestos indoors, you should primarily use a compressed air-fed full-face mask with a safety pressure relief valve and an escape filter.

  • Demolition outdoors:

If you are performing dusty work outdoors, such as cleaning up after a house fire, you can use a compressed air-fed or fan-assisted full-face mask with P3 filter. When taking down Eternit outdoors, e.g. Eternit roofs, you can use a half-mask with P3 filter.

  • Demolition with glove bag or equivalent:

When demolishing asbestos and using a glove bag or similar, use a full-face mask or fan-assisted full-face mask with P3 filter for unforeseen events.

Read more about work methods and planning.

Where is asbestos?

Asbestos is most commonly found in buildings built in the 50s, 60s and 70s. But asbestos is also found in older buildings that have undergone renovation during this period. Common places where you find asbestos are:

  • fire protection in steel structures, ventilation systems and waste disposal rooms
  • thermal insulation in pipes and boilers
  • noise absorption and reinforcement in boards, ducts and floor slabs
  • underlay for plastic floor coverings
  • adhesive and grout for tiles
  • paints and plastics

Which occupational roles are most exposed?

It is primarily in professions in the construction industry where there is a risk of being exposed to asbestos dust. Examples of occupational groups that are at risk of being exposed to asbestos:

  • demolition workers
  • plumbers
  • electricians
  • carpenters
  • floor layers
  • heating engineers
  • ventilation installers
  • decorators
  • cleaning staff

What does the law say?

In order to work with materials containing asbestos, a company must have a permit from the Swedish Work Environment Authority. As an employer, you also need to make a report before starting work.

The employer is responsible for ensuring that those who lead or perform work with asbestos or asbestos-containing material have undergone valid training.

The employer must also ensure that those who are to work with the demolition of asbestos or asbestos-containing material have undergone medical checks and have valid certificates of fitness for work.

Read more about employer responsibility here.

Other risk areas

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