What does the impact of COVID-19 mean for asbestos?

COVID-19 has affected normal life in many different ways – but you might not have considered the impact that it has had on asbestos.

When we are talking about asbestos here, we are not just referring to those tasked with managing and dealing with asbestos in properties, but also those people who are currently living with asbestos-related health conditions.

Here we take a look at the impact that COVID-19 has had on asbestos removals and remediation – but first, the effects of the virus on those already suffering with asbestos health concerns.

People living with asbestos-related conditions

Perhaps the most important issue to address with regards to asbestos relates to those people who unfortunately already suffer from asbestos-related conditions. COVID-19 is well understood to cause problems with the lungs, and also that it is more dangerous for people who are already vulnerable or have weakened immune systems.

This can certainly be the case for those people living with asbestos-related conditions, as asbestos fibres can cause long-term damage to the lungs – specifically to the lining of the lungs. If you already have an asbestos-related condition or you believe you are at risk of developing one, it is important to take as many precautions as possible.

While we have only very recently approved and begun to administer a COVID-19 vaccine, it is important for people with asbestos-related conditions to continue to isolate as much as possible, and do everything they can to minimise their risk of catching the virus.

If you have any specific concerns then you should speak to your doctor about the steps that you should take.

An issue that shouldn’t be forgotten

It is also the case that asbestos is not an issue that can be ignored or forgotten simply because of the pandemic. It is important to treat the issue of asbestos on a property just as seriously as has always been the case.

Any asbestos-related work that you need to have carried out should not be put off. Asbestos can be a genuine danger to human health, and the pandemic cannot be considered an excuse to avoid carrying out necessary remediation works.

Of course, if you are thinking about having asbestos work carried out, it may be necessary to re-think your health and safety assessment. You may need to put further steps in place to ensure that the work can be carried out safely without putting workers at risk either of exposure to asbestos or COVID-19.

The opportunity to remove asbestos from buildings

One aspect of asbestos that has always presented an issue is that if you want to have the material removed from a building, it can be quite invasive work. Additionally, it can be necessary to have the building empty for a significant period of time in order for any disturbed asbestos to dissipate and no longer be a risk in the air.

When asbestos is disturbed during the removal process, the fibres can become airborne where they can be breathed into the lungs. It can then take a period of time before it is safe to re-enter the premises.

However, during the pandemic, many businesses are having their staff work from home which can actually free up those premises to have asbestos-work carried out on them. Now could be the ideal time to have asbestos removed without the need for significant disruption to the working day.

Greater importance of checking your home for asbestos

It may be the case that you are spending a great deal more time at home as a result of the pandemic. This reveals a potential issue – what if there is undiscovered asbestos in your home? Thankfully, asbestos that is in good condition and unlikely to be damaged or disturbed is not a risk to your health.

However, many things can disturb asbestos – renovation work, decorating, and even venturing into parts of your home that you don’t often visit such as the loft.

Asbestos could be found in a number of places throughout your property if you are not aware of asbestos that doesn’t mean it can’t be there. Asbestos can easily be misidentified as it is often used within other building materials such as cement.

It is a great idea to have a thorough asbestos survey carried out on your home if you have any concerns.

Kindly shared by Annie Button

Main picture courtesy of Pixabay