The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated a concern in 2011 that recently manufactured pipe gaskets had been found to contain asbestos. The HSE found that gaskets known as CNA 2000 (dark blue in colour) were manufactured by a company called G&H Engineering Services between 2006 and 2010 from material directly imported from China which contained asbestos.
HSE is completely satisfied that G&H Engineering Services were not aware that the gaskets contained asbestos and that they had received confirmation from the manufacturer that the material that was supplied to them was asbestos free. G&H Engineering Services subsequently wrote to their customers in 2011 to alert them to the potential hazard. However, the HSE now believe that the letters issued may not have been fully circulated further down the supply chain. Therefore, on 30 October 2017 HSE wrote to G&H Engineering Services customers that may have been supplied with or used affected gaskets raising awareness of the issue and asking them to forward the letter further down the supply chain if necessary.
Whilst fitted as a gasket, the asbestos is contained within a tight matrix of material and contained by the pipework and the risk of exposure is very low. Greater potential for risk arises when the gasket is replaced and the material is disturbed during the removal process. HSE advise that asbestos registers may need updating and to consider whether to have these gaskets removed or leave them in situ.
Asbestos Essentials contains all the relevant information you will require on how to manage the safe removal and disposal of the gaskets. In particular, the safe system of work to be adopted when removing and disposing of the gasket is “a25 - Removing compressed asbestos fibre (CAF) gaskets and asbestos rope seals”.
However, prior to working with any asbestos containing materials, you must ensure you have the correct level of training.