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Fear of asbestos contamination

A181 profile image
A181
9 Replies

Hi. I am experiencing an extreme anxiety about asbestos contamination. I work in a big warehouse. Just about 2 months ago, a damaged ceiling tiles that contains brown asbestos in my workplace was removed by a professional asbestos remover. They used scaffolds to access it and enclosed that particular area. They did that on a weekend and when we came back Monday, the place was such a mess and full of dust and dirt on the floor. We don't know if these are just dirt that came from scaffolds or some asbestos also. A person was called in and used a machine that wet the floor and suck the dirt up.

Now, this situation put fear in me that what if the asbestos remover did not properly do their job and the whole of our warehouse is now contaminated with asbestos fibres. Because when they removed the plastic enclosure, and the scaffolds, asbestos fibres could still be in those materials and been blown towards the pallets and shelves in our stores.

My job involves picking stuff inside pallets and shelves. I am now anxious that asbestos fibres are in there and I get contaminated everytime i picked or moved stuff. But my biggest fear is that I am bringing asbestos fibres everyday I come home, contaminating my car, our house and endangering my family.

My question now, what is the likelihood that I could be contaminated with asbestos fibres after work and bringing it into my house? If ever there are asbestos that I brought home, will these be sufficient enough to cause asbestos related illnesses?

I'm sorry for the long post and apologize if somehow my fear is irrational. But unfortunately for me, I find logic behind my fear. I'm just extremely worried that I'm endangering my family's life and I can't bare that thoughts anymore... I'm hoping somebody could help me here.

Many thanks

9 Replies
Bevvy profile image
Bevvy

I don’t have the knowledge that you require to calm you I’m afraid. However it could be someone like the national health and safety executive can help. Or CAB might be able to advise who to speak to? Are you a member of a union? They can definitely be approached.

However, I would argue that a professional asbestos remover will know what they are doing and things “should” be safe. But really you need technical support and advice.

ps could also phone helpline Lung conditions community forum 0300 222 5800 for advice.

Biofreak profile image
Biofreak

Hi. I'm afraid I can't advise as I haven't got the knowledge but can fully understand why you are worried. If I were you I would first tell your employer/ management of your concerns and get reassurance that the job was done correctly explaining about the mess left behind and dust on the pallets. This is a situation where a union comes into their own in health and safety matters on employees behalf. If you are not satisfied with the management response and you aren't in a union then you can go to the Health and Safety Executive and register your concerns directly to them. There are regulations on the removal of asbestos so you could have a read before you speak to your employer. You have rights and maybe get a work colleague who feels the same to accompany you and add their voice to validate your concerns. Must admit I would want reassurance.

jessicaajames profile image
jessicaajames

Yes, technical support & advice is helpful in this regard to calm your nerves a bit.

The professional asbestos removers might have done their job correctly, it may just be that the place needs to be cleaned thoroughly, and nothing to worry about.

Anyways seeking professional help might work for you.

Good luck!

Lynneypin profile image
Lynneypin

can I ask how old you are?

A181 profile image
A181

Thank you for the replies. I'm early 40s. I have always been anxious about asbestos but this event has really gotten into me. Unfortunately, I have developed some habits/routines to counter my fear of bringing in asbestos fibres from work to my house and I'm finding it unbearable to do these stuff now. I've been trying to book an appointment with my GP recently but can't get a schedule. So for the meantime, I'm just trying to work it out myself to soften my worries. I think if I could speak to someone or get more information about risks, I will be able to think more rationally.

Ergendl profile image
Ergendl

I can't help you in your present situation, but would like to tell you about the 86 year old chap who plays trumpet in my church band. Years ago, he worked fuelling the boilers in a hospital, and piles of loose asbestos had been left in the basement where he worked. He developed mesothelioma from asbestosis when he was 82 and had one lobe of his lung removed. He is now clear and is still playing trumpet in our band.

The take-aways from this are: the more the exposure, the more likely later problems, the effects of exposure take years to develop, and present day work practices are such that your exposure to risk are kept to an absolute minimum - thanks to the work of the unions campaigning for safety at work.

So join a union, check the Health and Safety Executive and express your fears to your line manager. Wishing you all the best, and hoping your worst fears are never realised.

Biofreak profile image
Biofreak in reply to Ergendl

Totally agree Ergendi.

Superzob profile image
Superzob

Depending on what type of business you are in, you should either contact HSE or the local authority; this is definitely something that a union or safety rep could do. By law, the company has to display a health and safety poster with the contact details on it - companies often put it near the entrance or restroom. From what you describe, dust sampling and air monitoring would seem an appropriate course of action, if only to put you and your colleagues’ minds at rest.

knitter profile image
knitter

I can understand your fear , many years ago I was exposed to asbestos in my home , before the dangers were widely reported .

Asbestos boarding in the eaves, in ceiling paint , in floor tiles , on airing cupboard door and ironing boards . My late father built a garage with an asbestos roof.

I had many a sleepless night wondering if I and my family had been affected .

I can sympathise with your fear, but to have the fear from a workplace environment when the dangers are now known is not on .

Is there a Union representative in your workplace ?

Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau .

Ring the ALUK helpline too, just to talk to someone may help

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