Senior Consultant, Assurity Consulting
26th September 2018
The gasket material was shipped from China and was claimed to be asbestos free. The manufactured gaskets – CNA2000 pipeline gaskets – were supplied to and used by NHS facilities and maintenance teams. Action has been taken to advise these premises of the situation.
Whilst the gaskets themselves pose a low risk – any asbestos material is tightly bound with in the matrix so fibre release would be negligible at best – what it does show is that even with current legislation in place and the fact that the use of asbestos in the UK was ultimately banned in 1999 (with one or two exceptions), accidents and issues can and do still arise.
It is conceivable that this company is not the only one to have imported the gasket material and it is also conceivable that the NHS is not the only organisation or company to have used gaskets made from the material. Whilst I am not saying that you should sample your gaskets - a difficult process at the best of times when they are in situ - nor am I suggesting that if you manage a building built in 2006 for instance, you should have an asbestos register for your pipe gaskets, no, what I am saying is that knowledge of what is coming in to your building, where it is from and ultimately the competency of the people using or fitting the material is important.
Although the vast majority of parts, equipment, plant and raw materials will be ‘safe’, the provenance of some may not be as clear. If in doubt, check.