Taking a sample

Usually only a small amount of the material is required. Boards, tiles, textiles, papers etc approx 2.5 cm x 2.5cm. Other materials approx 1 teaspoon full is adequate. Textured coating samples should be made up from several smaller samples taken from different areas of the same pattern i.e. break off or cut off with a chisel several spikes from a stipple pattern.

As only a small amount of the material is being disturbed, the fibre release risk is usually extremely low, especially when damped down.

Tools that may be required:-

A sharp blade/knife, pliers, chisel, hammer, water sprayer i.e. a hand held plant sprayer, duct tape (or similar) Using the protective gloves will make any decontamination simpler, spraying the gloves with water will encourage any fibres that may be released to stick to the gloves

  1. A sample bag has its own sample reference number, so before taking a sample, write the additional information onto the sample bag label.
  2. Prepare the sample site by damping down the area as described above if necessary.
  3. Cut or break away the sample and place into the labelled bag and then place this into the unlabelled bag of the same size
  4. Place the disposable gloves and any other waste into the waste material bag
  5. Place the sample and waste material bag into the freepost envelope and post this into any royal mail post box
  6. The sample site may need sealing. Use duct tape (or similar), paint or PVA glue. Usually only licensed materials require resealing.

Always assess the risks associated with sample taking (see HSE’s Control of Asbestos Regulations (C.A.R) 2012 and consider the use of respiratory and personal protective equipment

If in doubt about the risk of releasing asbestos fibres into the air during sample taking then it may be advisable to contact a local surveying company to take the sample/s.

If the material you are about to sample is a licensed material (see over) you will need to proceed with caution. Licensed materials tend to release airborne fibres more easily. Damping down the materials will suppress the fibres, this can be done using a hand held plant sprayer using water. Lightly spray the material a number of times allowing the water to soak in between each spraying. When it no longer soaks in the water leave the material for about 5 minutes before taking the sample.

Some non-licensed materials will not soak up water but having water on the surface will help protect from fibre release