Asbestos fibers only pose a health risk when they become airborne and are inhaled. This typically occurs when asbestos material is damaged, disturbed or removed improperly. Non-friable asbestos materials that are in good condition usually do not release fibers unless they are cut, torn, sanded or sawed. This includes floor tiles, cement, roofing shingles and exterior siding.
Perth Asbestos Removal WA is a highly technical process that requires specialized training, equipment and procedures. A qualified asbestos consultant can provide guidance on the appropriate procedures for a project. This includes inspections of the site before beginning work, testing the air quality and preparing plans to protect the home or building occupants. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, helps set standards for the industry. The agency also provides tools and resources for training and education.
A key element of the asbestos removal process is to keep the risk of exposure as low as possible. This can be achieved by separating the work area from the rest of the building with plastic sheeting or negative air pressure units, and restricting access to the area. Signs must be posted that indicate that the work area is restricted and warning people not to enter it. Workers should wear a respirator and protective clothing when entering the work area.
Any reusable tools or equipment that are contaminated by asbestos must be cleaned thoroughly after use with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter or with a damp cloth. The work area must be cleaned frequently and at regular intervals, as well as after the end of each day and after the removal is complete. Rigid barriers and portable enclosures must be thoroughly cleaned by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter or by damp wiping as soon as clearance air sampling has successfully passedFootnote 2.
A decontamination room should be provided with a changing area for workers, with impermeable bags and containers for disposal of contaminated protective clothing and equipment. A shower should also be provided for workers to wash away any asbestos particles from their hair and skin before leaving the contaminated area. Workers should also wear disposable slippers over their boots and remove them before leaving the contaminated area, to avoid tracking asbestos fibres into other areas of the building. The work area should be inspected periodically for asbestos and other hazards, such as the presence of radon. A decontamination room should be provided with an air sampling system for monitoring the air for asbestos and other contaminants, as well as a vapor intrusion detection system for detecting moisture in the soil.
The presence of asbestos in any building or home is a cause for concern. The health risk is from airborne fibres which can be inhaled and potentially lead to a variety of health issues. A number of methods can be used to determine the risk of exposure and manage it. One of the most effective is to conduct a systematic survey of the premises by a qualified asbestos surveyor. This can be followed by a risk assessment which can help to minimise the release of airborne fibres.
Those carrying out work in areas where asbestos may be found need to take every precaution not to disturb the material. This includes avoiding activities which can cause damage and also having all repairs done by people who are trained and accredited in handling asbestos. This is especially important with sampling and minor repair work. People must wear disposable gloves and wash their hands after sampling. They must also shut down heating and cooling systems to minimize the release of tiny fibres into the atmosphere. It is recommended that they also wear disposable clothing, including a respirator mask.
Before attempting any sampling, the asbestos material should be wetted using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent. The plastic sheeting that will be placed on the floor below the area to be sampled should also be wetted. Then a small patch of the material is taken, and glued with duct tape to avoid any fibres from being released. The material is then tested to see if it contains asbestos.
When the material has been tested, it can be either sealed or removed. It is best to leave undamaged materials alone, but if they are likely to be disturbed in the future then encapsulation or removal is necessary. The final decision is usually based on cost, health risks and environmental issues.
Those conducting a refurbishment or demolition survey must ensure that they are properly protected when they are working in areas where asbestos is present. They must use protective whole body clothing including a mask, gloves and closed shoes. They must be provided with a disposable bag that is imprinted with asbestos warning labels. They must also sign an Asbestos register that is provided by ACT Health prior to commencing work.
If a building is to be demolished and contains asbestos, an abatement permit must be obtained. This typically includes an inspection by a qualified asbestos inspector and a description of the abatement work to be performed. It may also include the name of an air monitoring firm, floor plans and a change room. If the renovation will disturb friable ACM or PACM (asbestos-containing material that is sufficiently small to be handled without respiratory protection), a notification of the renovation must be submitted to the Bureau of Environmental Services at DOH and the Department of Labor and Workplace Development (DOLWD).
The abatement contractor should document that each person performing the abatement has completed federally approved training in asbestos removal and encapsulation work. Local clean air agencies or EPA regional offices can provide listings of certified professionals in the area.
During the demolition process, all demolition debris should be properly bagged and disposed of as asbestos waste. The contractor should place the bags in leak-tight containers, mark them with warning labels and origination labels, and seal the container before placing it in an approved landfill. The ground under the work area should be covered with plastic that is at least six millimeters thick. This will prevent contaminating nearby areas with asbestos fibers.
When working in a home, it is important to avoid tearing or ripping anything that may contain asbestos. This increases the chances of breaking, which could release the asbestos fibers into the air. Also, do not lower materials to the ground with a rope or chain, as this could also cause them to break and release the fibers.
If you suspect that improper abatement has taken place, contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or your county and state departments of environmental quality. Also, report the incident to your homeowner’s insurance company, as many policies have a provision that will reimburse you for damage caused by unlicensed contractors. This is particularly true for the tearing, ripping, chipping, cutting or grinding of materials that may contain asbestos, which can be very costly.
Asbestos was used widely in homes from the late 1800s until the 1970s, when scientists determined how dangerous this mineral is. It is found in insulation, fireproofing and other building materials. If you suspect these materials in your home, contact a reputable asbestos contractor to perform testing and inspections, as well as removal.
Before you hire a contractor, ask to see their work plan. This will show you how they will perform the work safely and according to state regulations. This will also help you compare bids to find the best one.
Once you have your quotes, ask the contractors to provide references from previous clients. If they are not willing to give you referrals, this may be a red flag. It could indicate they are not experienced and may cut corners to save money, which can be dangerous in this type of work. In addition to references, request proof of their insurance policy. While most general contractors have a standard liability policy, specialty services such as abatement require more specific and expensive coverages.
The contractor will set up a containment to isolate the work area from the rest of the structure. They will also seal off the heating and air conditioning systems in the area, as well as put up plastic sheeting and tape. Workers will wear protective clothing and respirators, as well as use a 3-chambered decontamination unit with a working shower to rinse off before they leave the work area.
During the process, they will remove and bag up the asbestos material. This is a messy job, and it is important that the workers use good ventilation to keep the asbestos fibers from spreading around the work site. They will also monitor the air to make sure the fibers do not return. Once the abatement is finished, a sample will be taken of the work area to verify that it meets safe levels for reoccupation.
A licensed asbestos consultant certified as a Project Monitor will oversee the work of the contractor and ensure it is done correctly. This will include monitoring area air sampling, performing post-abatement re-occupancy clearance inspections and final air clearance testing following each abatement project, and overseeing the removal of TSI and PACM in demolitions.