Asbestos In Safes - ESSA Frankfurt, November 2019
Asbestos and other dangerous substances in Pre-2005 safes & cabinets was the subject on top of the agenda last Thursday at the ESSA AGM held in the VDMA building in Frankfurt.
Falko Adomat, Project Manager at the European Security Systems Association and Secretary of the European Standardisation Committee for Safes And Fire Resistant Storage Units (CEN/TC 263) gave an informative seminar on hazardous substances including asbestos that can be found in pre-2005 safes and the serious danger they pose to anyone working with them.
Asbestos was banned in the European Union in 2005. However, thanks to the European Union’s free movement of goods and services, safes and cabinets contaminated with asbestos could and continue to move across the Eurozone. A fact that seems to have gone almost unmentioned in the second-hand industry until now.
According to the seminar delivered by Mr. Adomat to an international audience, asbestos was still used in over 80% of data safe production into the 1980’s and even into the 90’s.
Another alarming piece of information that came from the seminar was a study on asbestos fibre release through abrasion from the BZR Institute in Bonn. This study showed that opening and closing a light metal door on an asbestos fire seal released enough asbestos fibres to exceed the maximum recommended European exposure limit after just three repetitions of opening and closing cycles.
If you have a pre-2005, an uncertified or unmarked safe or cabinet, particularly one you bought second-hand, have it checked for possible asbestos contamination as soon as possible.
Asbestos is generally not covered by insurance policies, which leaves most businesses directly liable for asbestos exposure in the workplace.