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Asbestos in the Workplace: Areas to Be Aware of

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Asbestos is a highly dangerous material that was once used in various building applications, including with a variety of building materials. It contains fibres that, when inhaled, can lead to various illnesses and cancers, including mesothelioma. These fibres include amosite, tremolite, and chrysotile, among others. While new buildings do not use asbestos anymore due to the dangers, your older building might still contain some materials with asbestos. Here are some areas you might find asbestos in the workplace.

Flooring Tiles and Glue

A very common area of older buildings to contain traces of asbestos is in the flooring materials. If your building has certain areas where the floors have not been replaced in a long time, then you definitely need to consider this risk. Asbestos was frequently used in vinyl flooring tiles, as it helped with durability and longevity of the tiles. Some types of linoleum tile might also have asbestos fibres. In addition, flooring made with wood or concrete might have asbestos in the glue that secured the flooring tiles to the floor underlayment. If you intend to pull up any flooring materials in your building, make sure you have it tested for asbestos first.

Roofing Materials

If you intend to replace roofing materials of an older building, this is another place that needs inspections first. Many roofing materials used asbestos before builders knew of its dangers because it was fire-resistant. This means that when you put up shingles on a roof in an area where brush fires were prevalent, those shingles were much less likely to catch fire and put the building at risk. It was more common on flat roofs, which many commercial buildings have. Some asphalt shingles might also contain asbestos.


Be aware of the type of duct insulation in your building that is used for HVAC purposes. Older air conditioning and heating units often had flat paper or corrugated insulation that also contained asbestos. This helped to further improve the success of the insulation and also reduced fire risks that are sometimes associated with it.

Exterior Materials

Some asbestos is located outside the building, such as on the windows. Not the window glass and frames themselves, but in the caulking used to secure the windows and in window glaze. You might also have asbestos in the building's siding, such as fibre cement siding, corrugated siding, or plaster used when securing the siding and other exterior materials.

If you do find asbestos in your older building, contact a company like Total Asbestos Services to have it disposed of.