Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Maintaining and removing asbestos can be risky for workers and property users due to unexpected exposure to microscopic airborne asbestos fibres. 

Long-term exposure causes severe diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. 

So, employers must implement measures immediately to protect the workers and the general public from asbestos exposure while operating on their property.

Fortunately, defined guidelines, procedures, and laws exist to help ensure that you manage asbestos and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) safely and effectively to lower the risk of exposure. 

However, it is essential and even mandatory for you to follow suitable asbestos removal procedures to reduce any danger.

Asbestos removal in Melbourne can seem like a nightmare to someone unfamiliar with this field of employment. 

We have created the following guide to assist you in understanding the asbestos removal procedure:

Detect Asbestos Materials That Might Need Removal:

Asbestos was a product component from the 1930s to the middle of the 1970s. Thousands of products, building materials, automobile components, and consumer goods contain asbestos. 

Many industries use asbestos in multiple industrial settings due to its durability and fire-resistant qualities. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a national survey of easily broken asbestos in public structures in 1984. The EPA reported that at the time, friable asbestos was present in 20% of public and private buildings.

Asbestos may still be present in houses and structures built before 1980. Asbestos fibres are difficult to identify since you cannot see them through the human eye. Hence, people should be aware of products containing asbestos to avoid contamination.

Some asbestos-containing construction materials are:

  • Silicone sealant 
  • Roof tiles
  • Cement coating
  • Concrete
  • Electric circuit breakers
  • Millboard
  • Plasters
  • Tiles or roofing materials
  • Drywalls
  • Siding
  • Ceilings with popcorn texture
  • Flooring tiles
  • Electrical connections

Many building materials contained asbestos, employed as a thermal insulator in public structures, commercial businesses, and educational institutions.  A few metal beams even had asbestos coating as a fireproofing material. Asbestos was also present in compounds and plasters applied on walls and ceilings.

According to the EPA’s National Survey of Asbestos-Containing Friable Materials Final Report, most of the materials possess significant quantities of asbestos:

  • A 70 percent asbestos percentage was present in pipe or boiler insulation.
  • The average percentage of friable asbestos material sprayed or layered for insulation and fireproofing was 14%. According to the agency, these materials were present in 192,000 buildings.
  • Construction workers and homeowners may still be in danger of asbestos exposure while doing restorations and remodelling in older buildings. 

You can engage an expert to inspect a suspected asbestos-containing area. The expert can examine samples of broken or damaged materials. 

Moreover, skilled professionals can suggest subsequent measures in case they identify asbestos. An asbestos removal contractor can securely remove and dispose of the asbestos or encapsulate it.

Asbestos Removal Procedure:

  1. Conduct a Survey:

Before beginning work, you must survey to determine whether asbestos is present in the structure. You must perform a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey if the work is intrusive and extensive. On the other hand, an asbestos management survey assists in the management of any asbestos present during the regular use of a building.

  1. Create a Management Plan:

After confirming the presence of asbestos, you must conduct a risk assessment and create a management plan following the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recommendations for working with ACMs. Such examinations show the possibility of asbestos exposure during any activity and indicate who might be at risk. Furthermore, the assessment will specify the working procedures required to manage the risks.

  1. Assess the Need for a License:

The next step is to assess whether you need a license to perform the removal process. Most projects involving higher-risk labour and asbestos removal call for a contractor with an HSE licence. 

Here are some examples of removal processes requiring a license: 

  • Persistent exposure to asbestos and ACMs.
  • Removal of asbestos coatings and any operations that can damage pipe lagging.
  • Work on asbestos-containing insulating boards.
  • Activities where asbestos exposure is likely to exceed the control limit
  • Any task utilising asbestos millboard or loose-fill insulation

You must report any licensable work to the appropriate enforcing authority using form FOD ASB5 at least 14 days before any work begins. Enforcing authority may be the HSE, the Environment Agency, or the Local Authority.

  1. Have Appropriate Training and Tools to Ensure Safety:

Verify that any contractor performing the task has a legal permit, proper training, protective gear, and breathing equipment to carry out the work safely.

  1. Create an Airtight Barrier to Contain Asbestos:

The Licensed Contractor must ensure to seal any areas having asbestos and expected to be disturbed using polythene and wood. The sealing forms an airtight barrier to contain asbestos airborne fibres.

Nowadays, it is possible to limit and lessen the release of fibres into the air by adopting controlled wetting techniques like spraying, needle insertion, or applying a sealant. Furthermore, you can use air monitoring techniques to verify that control levels never exceed and that the area in the problem is safe for reoccupation.

  1. Appropriately Labelling and Disposing of the Contaminated Waste:

The authorised Asbestos removal company must ensure that all contaminated waste is clearly labelled, double wrapped, and secured in asbestos garbage bags before safely dumping it at a designated licenced waste disposal facility.

  1. Follow the Decontamination Protocols:

 Removal Operatives must carefully adhere to decontamination protocols following the completion of asbestos removal from the premises and at the end of each shift involving asbestos-related work.

  1. Eliminate any Unwanted Waste and Residues:

Thoroughly clean all surfaces with ecologically friendly products to remove any leftover debris and stains in the confined area after removing any hazardous waste. Vacuum and clean all exposed surfaces before the site supervisor conducts a visual inspection.

  1. Conduct an Air Test:

The contractor or client will arrange for an independent UKAS-accredited laboratory to assess the area following the completion of the project. Also, conduct an air test within the area before removing the barrier if the analyst is satisfied that the area is clean enough.

Looking for Asbestos Removal, How Can We Help?

We hope the mini-guide provided you with some insight into the asbestos removal procedure. To prevent asbestos exposure, you must ensure that you remain compliant with all general requirements of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for all work with asbestos, whether it is licensable or not.

We, MERHI GROUP, are happy to address any inquiries regarding asbestos management and removal from your property. We work throughout the commercial, industrial, and residential sectors, performing surveys, analyses, and asbestos removal.

 Get in touch with us to discuss how we might help you to find the best asbestos removal solutions without any obligations.

By Manali