Safe Asbestos Removal

Introduction to Safe Asbestos Removal

Mishandling or ignorance of the procedures for safe asbestos removal can result in serious health consequences for the qualified technicians and an unsafe compromise of the air quality and surface environments for residential or commercial buildings.  Laws governing the management of asbestos are strict and designed for the protection of workers and inhabitants and severe legal and financial consequences can result.

Caution Before Economising

Specialised equipment and qualified personnel are required in order to guarantee safe asbestos removal and only licensed contractors should be used.  When considering hiring a qualified contractor, look for an ISO9001 certified company for optimal safe asbestos removal.  Be wary of contractors that solicit with offers of being the best and least expensive alternatives.  The health consequences for the improper removal of the hazardous material are far too high and can have lasting residual consequences to the health of the inhabitant as well as the resale value of your home.

The checklist below provides a summary of things to be mindful of when hiring a contractor and outlines areas of concern to be aware of.

Safety Checklist

  • Do consult your local bylaws to determine specific measures required by your local governance. Refer to the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2006 in the United Kingdom for more information.
  • Do determine the friability for safe asbestos removal.  It will impact the planning of the project and the methods and materials required as well as the cost estimate.
  • Do not drill, sand, grind or penetrate any asbestos product with an electric tool.  The agitation from a power tool will create dust and release harmful fibres into the air.  This includes the use of high compression power washers which although wetting the material (which is helpful for limiting its range) has the same overall effect on dispersion in the immediate work area.
  • Do not allow plastic protective sheeting to be dropped or reused after the project.  There is no effective method of removing asbestos particles from plastic or clothing as such only disposable materials should be used at all times.
  • Do ensure that the work area is effectively encapsulated to prevent particulates from escaping into the air and contaminating other areas or ventilation systems.
  • Do not permit work to begin without the presence of a negative air filtration machine to assist in controlling and filtering harmful dust from the air.
  • Do advise neighbours that you are engaging in a removal project so that they may take measures for the protection of their own environment such as closing and plastic sheeting of windows and avoidance of the work area.  This is of even greater importance for young children and respiratory compromised individuals.
  • Do determine if removal is optimal for your particular situation.  If the area is small or inaccessible there are other options available such as encapsulation using a variety of methods to seal off the area in a safe manner.

Without question it pays to be informed and prepared when it comes to the required methods of safe asbestos removal.