Table Of Contents

If you have a building that was built or renovated prior to 2003, it may contain asbestos. Always consult the building manager to find out if there is any asbestos before commencing any work.

Asbestos can be classified into three groups that are often found in properties; brown (amosite), blue (crocidolite) and white (chrysotile).

The most dangerous of the three is crocidolite (blue in colour) which is very thin. It is commonly used to protect locomotives and sprayed coverings, plastic sheeting, and cement goods. The amosite is widely used, and it increases the likelihood of cancer cells forming compared to the other types of asbestos.

It was typically used in cement sheeting and pipe lagging, ceiling panels, and heat insulation wares. It can be identified by its brown colour.

This asbestos is most commonly present in roofs, ceilings, walls, and the floors of buildings. Chrysotileas, as they are known, were also used in brake pads, washers, tank covers, and covering for piping, tubes, and machines. You can identify this asbestos by its white colour.

Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos surveying can be defined as a comprehensive analysis of a property. This analysis gives detailed information for risk evaluation, asbestos details, and administration plan preparation. This detailed analysis should be looked at before any work is done.

This will help in the preparation of any renovations and associated work.

There will be a need to determine whether there are any materials comprising asbestos or not. To resolve this, there will need to be random sampling and examination done. The asbestos survey will be needed time and again with each lifecycle of the property.

Friable Vs. Non-Friable Asbestos

Friable asbestos simply means dry, fine-grained, powdered, or hand compressed to form a powder out of it.

Non-friable asbestos is the opposite. It has not been fine-grained and reduced to a powdery form. But the non-friable asbestos can become friable over time due to work progression (such as dilapidation because of being exposed to chemicals) or other aspects such as destruction caused by fire.

Asbestos In The Home

Is asbestos dangerous in the home? If the home is well maintained, there is no danger of asbestos. It only becomes a problem if there is a disturbance and the fibres are released. So if the asbestos is in a good state, it should not be disturbed.

The asbestos material becomes dangerous at home when it has been dilapidated for a long time. It becomes a powder very fast when handled, cut, worn out, or sandpapered. This is when the fibres are released, posing a health risk.

For you to know if your home has asbestos, look out for wear and tear, scuffs, or damage caused by water. There should be regular checks for such things, and if there is anything detected, the place should be accessed only when necessary to avoid disturbance. Though you can see what asbestos looks like, you cannot detect it by smell.

Asbestos Abatement Contractor - When To Contact Them

Before an asbestos abatement contractor starts working, make sure you have in place a written agreement stipulating the plans for how work will be carried out, the cleaning, and the necessary state's asbestos regulations. The worker must follow the authorisations, notice obligation, and asbestos removal processes to the letter.

These regulations can be found at the local health departments and safety agencies. If you decide to remove asbestos, ensure you have a printed declaration from the worker that they are aware and will follow the asbestos removal and disposal regulations.

Asbestos Management Plan

This is a plan that outlines how asbestos will be managed once identified. The asbestos management plan should have:

• Pinpoint where the asbestos is located.

• All the conclusions and explanations should be included.

• A framework of actions should there be any cases and disasters associated with asbestos.

• Include what each person is accountable for.

• All the info provided should be current.

• After five years, or when the health and safety agent requests, this plan should be revised.

• The plans should be readily available to anyone who wishes to or is planning to do any works at the property and also the health and safety agents who stand for labourers at the workstation.

• The labourers should be well equipped with information, talks, and drills if the work they will do comprises asbestos.

Asbestos Removal

Only allow a skilled licensed tradesperson to remove the asbestos. Therefore, before contacting an asbestos abatement contractor, call an industrial hygiene company to come and examine the area that is affected. They should be able to collect and study samples, conduct testing, and manage a comprehensive pictorial inspection.

Once the industrial hygiene company has examined the area, they should write an assessment giving details on the exact place, the degree of the destruction, and advice on what needs to be done to correct it or prevent further damage.

After the removal has been done, the assessor should come back to check to ensure the whole place has been suitably cleaned. After this, the homeowners can call an asbestos abatement contractor and develop a plan to clean.

The Asbestos Removal Procedure

If one is handling materials or products that contain asbestos, they need to handle them with care because if they break and get damaged, the asbestos fibres can quickly mix with air.

To avoid this potential hazard, since studies do not indicate what degree of asbestos exposure is safe, an expert with the proper accreditations should be brought in to handle it.

Fixing After Asbestos Removal

When we talk about fixing, it consists of either closing or casing asbestos materials after safely removing them.

Asbestos Removal Licenses Required

In Australia, friable asbestos removal requires a license. In the case of non-friable asbestos removal, a license is only required above ten square metres of removal. The two types of licenses issued for asbestos removal are:

• Unrestricted: This does not limit the removal of asbestos to the holder of the license. They can have their employees remove the friable and non-friable asbestos.

• Restricted: This applies to the removal of non-friable asbestos only. It can be done by the person holding the license or their employee.

These licenses are issued by WorkSafe and are in force for three years. There are specific standards on how to carry out asbestos removal.

Asbestos Awareness - What You Need To Know

About 90,000 people die from asbestos-related illnesses worldwide yearly, with one hundred and twenty-five million remaining at risk because of being exposed to asbestos at their workplace. People can have a cancer (mesothelioma) that affects the lining of the ribcage or stomach openings that are always deadly.

There is a chance employees can be susceptible to it and not aware. It could be from their own personal actions or work carried out by someone else. Nearly all materials used for a building before 2000, including floors, walls, ceiling, insulation, electrical products, contain asbestos – the list is never-ending.

You might unintentionally shake the asbestos fibres. Even regular repairs which are supposed to have minimal risk can discharge these lethal fibres. It can be simple drilling or flattening of an area that can trigger the fibres to become airborne. Just being in the same place as asbestos can cause someone to be at risk of exposure.

This is why there needs to be asbestos training so all workers can be aware of the risks of asbestos. This training should be done regularly and every year workers should undergo a refresher course. The training course should include:

• Identifying, secure management and suitable monitoring measures.

• Materials containing asbestos.

• Asbestos that occur naturally.

• Unrefined asbestos pressed fine form and fitted as insulation.

Asbestos FAQs

Which products mainly have asbestos?

• Asbestos cement merchandise, for instance, construction provisions, telephone exchanges, hedges, and roof tiling.

• Sound applications and lining that has been sprayed.

• Properties, constructions, ships.

• Lab counters.

• Air cooling pipes.

Roofing materials.

• Hanging ceiling tiles.

• Abrasion materials such as brake pads, shoes, etc.

• Industrial seals.

• Minerals/soils that occur naturally.

• Fire escape and fire-resistant materials.

Is asbestos forbidden in Australia?

Yes. Australia banned asbestos, prohibiting its use and importation from December 31st, 2003. The only exceptions include:

• All materials containing asbestos that were in place and utilised similarly before January 1st, 2004.

• Legitimate investigation or study which the WorkSafe Commissioner has approved.

• Management for eradication or dumping purposes, and asbestos occurring naturally in a particular place.

What are the health hazards correlated with asbestos exposure?

Health effects of asbestos exposure include asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. The factors determining the severity of the illnesses include how much asbestos fibres were inhaled, how long the exposure was for, the type of asbestos, and hereditary influences.

Do I need any license to remove asbestos at work?

Yes. You will need either a restricted or unrestricted permit. Friable requires an unrestricted permit, while non-friable requires a restricted permit. This can be done by the license holder or any worker within the company. The code of practice for the safe removal of asbestos outlines the procedures used to remove asbestos.

After a storm, how should I clean asbestos?

If you inspect your property after a storm, you might find that it has severely soiled or damaged materials containing asbestos. If the damage is too great, it will need to be removed, or it may just require a clean up. It is prohibited to use of high-pressure water to clean asbestos-containing materials.

This is because it might produce asbestos fibres from the construction that, when mixed, end up making it airborne. You should contact an asbestos removal contractor if the damage is severe to come to remove it.

How do I get rid of asbestos products?

The State laws and rules will guide you on how to transport and dispose of asbestos. One can search for places near them with asbestos disposal plants to discard asbestos waste through the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

Asbestos And Renovation

• It is way cheaper to renovate than removing asbestos-containing material. But in the long run, removing it will be much more expensive and tedious.

• Maintenance can either be huge or small, so be sure to keep your building maintained.

• Never do the repairs yourself. If not handled well, asbestos products can be problematic.

If you need help with handling asbestos, whether at home or on a commercial property, get in touch with your local environmental affairs agency. If managed well, asbestos can be averted from triggering issues in your house.

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