If people do discover asbestos to be present - whether it is in their home or during construction work on a commercial building – their initial feeling could be one of panic, especially given the potentially lethal nature of the fibres.

But, with some due care and attention, asbestos management does not have to be complicated and there are some simple steps individuals or contracting firms should take.

Official government guidance notes asbestos is only dangerous if it is disturbed, so homeowners do not have to worry if it is merely present in their property.  However, if they are concerned there are precautions they can take to protect themselves.

The material containing the asbestos can be coated in several ways to ensure no dust can be released into the atmosphere. Individuals could prime the surface with an alkali resistant primer before adding a layer of emulsion or gloss paint.

Alternatively, it can be covered with bitumastic paint such as Aquaseal or Synthaprufe, while sealing it with PVA glue will also work. Wallpapering over sheet asbestos using a strong adhesive will have the same effect.

If this is done in the process of a redecoration or renovation project, care must be taken not to disturb the asbestos while work is carried out and sanding, drilling or sawing any materials containing the fibres should be avoided.

In some instances, it may be that surfaces cannot be covered or repaired and in this case, a professional must be called in to get rid of the dangerous fibres. It is vital that only a competent and fully trained asbestos surveyor is used for this job and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service can help people find someone suitable.

They will use a quality management system and have specialist expertise in what can be a very dangerous area. Individuals who are trained in the removal of asbestos will also have dust mask approved for asbestos and a disposable overall.

If anyone is concerned about asbestos removal, the government urges them to contact their local council for help.

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