North East social housing firm launches investigation over asbestos fears during repairs

A social housing tenant claims workmen have potentially exposed his family to asbestos, the BBC has reported.

Jerome Sorroll, from Teesside, said men working for Beyond Housing had scattered debris while repairing a ceiling vent.

Separate engineers later warned him the ceiling contained asbestos, he said.

Beyond Housing said it could neither confirm nor deny the presence of asbestos until it had investigated but the house was safe. A spokeswoman said;

“Independent tests show there is no airborne asbestos within the house meaning it is safe for the customer to remain there.” 

Mr Sorroll, 23, said holes were drilled in his ceiling to deal with a damp problem but a later set of workmen raised concerns, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.  He added;

“They said the work should never have been carried because the ceiling had asbestos in it.  They said they should not have touched the ceiling unless it was done properly.”

Asbestos – safe if not disturbed?

Mr Sorroll said he was told the ceiling contained asbestos and was waiting to hear if it was also in the loft.  He said;

“I would have liked some warning about the asbestos before moving into the property so we’d know where it was.” 

White asbestos was a popular building material before it was banned in the UK in 1999 and can still be found in many structures.

It is responsible for more than 5,000 UK deaths a year from conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

Health and Safety Executive advice is that it poses little risk if in good condition and left alone but is a danger to health if disturbed or damaged.

If you have any concerns about the status of asbestos in your place of work or other property, arrange a survey today.

And if your workmen or other staff need asbestos awareness training, we offer that too.  Get more information here.