Lots of industries like to use abbreviations and technical speak when discussing their particular business, the asbestos industry is no different.  This can be confusing for people outside the industry; the definitions on this page are provided as a guide to "asbestos speak".

ACMs - Asbestos Containing Materials. This can be a product with anything from 99% asbestos concentration to less than 1% and is used to refer to the vastly different types of such material.

ACOP - Approved Code of Practice - Documents produced by the Health and Safety Executive which supplement and explain the law and give guidance on compliance with the legislation.  Non-compliance does not constitute a breach of the law but ACOPs are used as evidence of failure to do all that was reasonably practicable to comply with the law.

AIB - Asbestos Insulation Board used primarily for fire protection, thermal insulation, partitioning and ducts.

Amosite - Brown asbestos common in AIB and sprayed coatings.

Asbestos - A natural mineral fibre obtained by means of a mining or quarrying process; used extensively in construction for its useful properties of and thermal insulation, flame resistance, acid resistance, strength and versatility.  There are three main types, Amosite, Chrysotile and Crocidolite.

Asbestos Coordinator -  A nominated person from the Estates Services department responsible for the management of all aspects of asbestos relating to the University estate and ensuring compliance with relevant legislation.

BOHS - British Occupational Hygiene Society.  Occupational hygiene is about recognising, evaluating and controlling health hazards arising from work. Established since 1953, BOHS’s aim is simple: to help to reduce work-related ill-health. They do this by promoting public and professional awareness, good practice and standards, and by researching and advancing education in the science of occupational health and hygiene.

Bulk Sample - A sample of material such as insulation board, thermal insulation or debris taken by a trained and accredited surveyor to be tested for asbestos fibre content by an accredited laboratory.

CAR - Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Chrysotile - White asbestos common in asbestos cement products.

Crocidolite - Blue asbestos common in sprayed coating and thermal insulation.

Environmental Clean - Vacuuming of an area using vacuums cleaners fitted with HEPA filters.

HEPA - High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor - A specially constructed filter membrane used in vacuum cleaners within the industry that allows a high volume of air flow and stops small particles of some pre-determined size from passing through.
HSE - Health and Safety Executive, the government agency responsible for the regulation of almost all the risks to health and safety arising from work activity in Britain.

Management Survey - formerly known as a type 2 survey, is the standard survey. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition.

MDHS 100 - Method for the Determination of Hazardous Substances - Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials. This is guidance issued by the HSE to ensure proper practice and conformity in the surveying and reporting of ACMs.

Mesothelioma - a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs and inside the ribs (pleura), or around the abdominal organs (peritoneum). By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal. Like other asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma has a long latency period from first exposure to the onset of disease, on average 30-40 years.

Method Statement - The plan of work or method by which the Licensed Removal Contractor will remove and dispose of the ACMs, it will also set out the transit routes, location of skip, enclosure, location of Negative Pressure Unit etc.

Notification Period - The HSE require that a two week notification period is given for work carried out to a licensable material. Site specific risk assessments and method statement must be provided for each job.  Realistically, one should therefore allow a minimum of three weeks from the date of order for the work to commence.

Occupational Hygiene - ‘Hygiene’ is defined as the science behind health or the conditions or practices conducive to health. But in common usage it has taken on a much narrower definition linking it to cleanliness, frequently leading to the misunderstanding of the term ‘occupational hygiene’: it’s NOT about washing your hands or handling food properly at work, it’s about minimising the risks of ill-health caused by the working environment.

PPE - Personal protective equipment such as overalls, masks, gloves etc.

RPE - Respiratory protective equipment.

Refurbishment/Demolition Survey - previously referred to as a type 3 survey, is intended to locate all the asbestos in the building (or the relevant part), as far as reasonably practicable. It is a disruptive and fully intrusive survey which may need to penetrate all parts of the building structure.

Shadow Vacuuming - A technique used when removing screws from AIB by way of vacuuming any dust generated in this activity at source.

UKAS - United Kingdom Accreditation Service, this is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators.