Asbestos disposal truck overturns
The lorry was travelling to a waste disposal site when it overturned. The exact circumstances which led to the accident were not reported but it has raised concerns about how such a thing could happen. Fortunately, the driver was unharmed and the material was cleared by specialists but the situation could have led to members of the public being exposed to asbestos. A spokesperson from the Fire Service stated that “It is a risky business but it’s something we’re trained to do. It’s not the type of thing we treat lightly at all.”
The disposal of asbestos is something that needs to be treated with caution because of the dangers posed by asbestos. If the fibres within asbestos are inhaled they can cause cancer or other serious health problems. Symptoms often do not appear until many years after exposure by which time it may be too late for medical treatment to be fully effective.
Some asbestos materials do not require a licence for their handling. This includes asbestos cement because the asbestos fibres are tightly bound within the material. If you remove non-licensable asbestos materials from your home, it must be disposed of separately to everyday household waste. Some areas offer an asbestos collection service and others provide asbestos disposal facilities where you can take asbestos materials. Any asbestos waste needs to be double-bagged with the correct hazard warning signs attached.
Asbestos waste includes any materials which have been contaminated by asbestos including tools, cleaning rags etc. Asbestos waste is classified as ‘hazardous waste’ when it contains more than 0.1% asbestos.
All asbestos waste is subject to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. Non-licensable asbestos materials are not covered by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods (etc) Regulations 2004 but most asbestos waste is covered by these Regulations. The Regulations make it mandatory for anyone who works in asbestos disposal to have undertaken mandatory training. A risk assessment must be undertaken to decide if the removal work is licensable. If it is licensable, a license must be issued by the HSE. A specific ‘work area’ must be designated, emergency procedures must be put in place and employees must be provided with medical surveillance. Before the building can be re-occupied, a clearance certificate must be issued by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
Asbestos disposal is potentially hazardous because of the dangers posed by asbestos. The Regulations have been put into place to try and minimise the risks. Unexpected accidents, such as this lorry accident cannot be predicted but precautions can be put into place in order to minimise the damage that they cause.