Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year. 


Why is asbestos dangerous?

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers globally each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road. 
  • Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure
  • However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

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. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now. 

Who is at risk from asbestos?

Exposure to asbestos is widespread in society, but current data in the UK indicates that the risk of a fatal asbestos- related cancer is greatest among people who work in construction and engineering.

These trades encounter asbestos in their work during maintenance, refurbishment or demolition activity. In countries where asbestos is still used, other workers will be exposed, especially those involved in the manufacture, use or installation of products using ACMs.

Where can Asbestos be found?

Asbestos can found in a many of the common materials used in the building trade. Some of these materials should only be worked on by a licensed contractor.

Some areas where asbestos may be found (on the UK HSE website)

Common asbestos containing materials

Asbestos can found in a many of the common materials used in the building trade. Some of these materials should only be worked on by a licensed contractor.

Asbestos Licensing Regulations (source HSI website )

Asbestos - common materials  (source UK HSE website)

Management of Exposure to Asbestos in the Workplace (ACoP)

The Jersey Health and Safety Inspectorate issued a revised Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) “the Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings & Structures” in 2015.

This ACoP applies to all premises used as a workplace, including work carried out on domestic premises.

The ACoP contains details of the arrangements which should be in place to ensure that any asbestos containing materials present in the workplace do not place persons at risk. Such risks should be prevented during normal occupation of the premises and during the course of works, such as maintenance or refurbishment.  

The areas covered in the ACoP include:

  • where asbestos is likely to be found in buildings
  • the hazards to health from asbestos
  • the requirement for an asbestos management plan to be prepared for any workplace premises 
  • information for persons who carry out work on materials which are subject to the Asbestos-Licensing (Jersey) Regulations 2008
  • information for persons who carry out work on materials which are not subject to the Asbestos-Licensing (Jersey) Regulations 2008

The legal aspects of working with asbestos containing materials in Jersey are covered in the the Asbestos Licensing Regulations.  

Useful Links

IOSH Asbestos fact sheet (source


Asbestos can cause the following serious and sometimes fatal diseases


Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.

Asbestos-related lung cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.


Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

Note: It is also important to remember that people who smoke, and are also exposed to asbestos fibres, are at a much greater risk of developing lung cancer.



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