Asbestos - the risk to health and why it must be cleaned up properly

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year.’ 

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.’

Due to serious effects of asbestos inhalation, it was banned from use in the UK in 1999 but the HSE states that ‘Asbestos is still found in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000.’ Asbestos can be found in many products around both residential and industrial buildings such as pipes, vinyl floor tiles, partition walling and much more - for more information on the likely locations of asbestos visit: https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/building.htm

Having the awareness of where asbestos might be found is essential in helping to reduce the risks when disturbing it.  

The HSE’s Asbestos guide states the following facts:

  • 20 tradespeople, on average, die every week from asbestos related diseases in GB
  • Every tradesperson is likely to come into contact with asbestos at work at some point
  • Asbestos can be in any house or building built before the year 2000
  • Asbestos remains in millions of homes, business premises and public buildings today
  • When carried out regularly, even small jobs like drilling a hole can expose you to the danger

It is therefore essential that any work undertaken to remove asbestos is carried out with the right precautions and tools used to make sure that it is safely removed and disposed of. 

Filtermist brand Kerstar manufactures Type H industrial vacuum cleaners for dealing with hazardous dusts and debris including:

  • Asbestos
  • Finely divided silica
  • Carcinogens
  • Highly active pharmaceutical products

Only a type H vacuum cleaner is suitable to clean up asbestos due to the special type of filter used in them.  A standard domestic vacuum cleaner will not be suitable for asbestos as it will spread the asbestos fibres into the air.

The Kerstar KV range of vacuums is suitable for use in asbestos removal thanks to their robust build quality and filtration efficiency. 

The KV range includes capacities from 8.5-40 litres and all models incorporate Kerstar’s own multi-stage direct airflow motor, which can be used (depending on the model) in 1000w or 2000w combinations. 

Each model in the range is equipped with three stages of filtration:

  • Stage 1: sealable disposable microfibre bag,
  • Stage 2: high efficiency filter assembly using a filter medium that is specially designed as a pre-filter material for HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters.
  • Stage 3: The third stage is an oversized HEPA cartridge filter housed in a sturdy replaceable module. Kerstar’s HEPA filters are grade H14 as standard.

All Type H machines are designed, built and finally tested and certified in our own in-house test facility ensuring consistent high quality associated will all Kerstar products.  Each KV Type H vacuum cleaner is individually DOP tested on calibrated test equipment to achieve a filtration efficiency in excess of 99.995% at 0.6 microns.

The smaller models in the KV range are supplied with a comprehensive set of 32mm accessories suitable for either hand use or for cleaning larger floor areas.  The larger machines will accept both the 32mm and the larger 38mm accessories offering a range of attachments to suit any job.

Established in 1960, Kerstar produces a range of cleaners, including ATEX-accredited machines for use in explosion risk environments, from its facility in Northampton in the UK.

There is HSE guidance in place on how to use a Class H vacuum cleaner for asbestos removal: https://www.asbestostraininglimited.co.uk/media/filer_public/04/ee/04eea6c8-5f27-4327-b228-af4c17d09900/em4.pdf

Further information on working with asbestos can be found on the HSE’s website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/

For more information on Kerstar’s Type H vacuum cleaners visit the Kerstar website www.kerstar.com or view the product datasheet here: Kerstar KV Type H data sheet

Call our sales team today on +44 (0) 1952 290500 or email sales@filtermist.com

 

Sources:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/assets/docs/beware-asbestos-reference-cards.pdf

https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/dangerous.htm

https://www.arca.org.uk/about-asbestos

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