Like you already know, asbestos can be very dangerous if handled carelessly. That is why as a surveyor or a homeowner, you need to be very careful with it. Asbestos fibers can easily become airborne the minute the material containing it is damaged or broken. Asbestos is most dangerous when it is airborne and that’s why other forms of asbestos are not dangerous, or at least they do not pose the same level of risk as their airborne counterparts. According to research, no level of asbestos can be considered as safe. So you shouldn’t become relaxed and make mistakes.
So, how is the removal of asbestos handled? Read below to learn more.
The asbestos removal process
There are two approaches to handling asbestos depending on its condition. The two approaches are abatement and encapsulation. Like the name suggests, encapsulation involves the use of a sealant to coat and seal off all asbestos materials in the space involved. Encapsulation is done in less than severe cases where it is possible to continue occupying a building that has asbestos-containing materials, often abbreviated as ACM.
Abatement is only done in severe cases where ACMs have broken and made the asbestos in them to become airborne. During the abatement process, the first step to take is to switch off all HVAC units in the home and seal any vents. This is meant to prevent asbestos from circulating into other rooms or outside the house.
The second step is to seal off the work area with plastic sheeting. This is done to prevent any asbestos from moving outside the work area. Also, it denies people who are not involved in the removal process any access. The workspace should then be cleaned using wet tools and certified filter vacuums.
All materials that are removed from the site of work should be placed in air-tight plastic bags and marked clearly as hazardous materials.
What should technicians wear?
When handling asbestos materials, it is mandatory to always wear disposable overalls, full-face mask respirator, and disposable gloves. The purpose of this is to make sure that the worker does not get into contact with the asbestos at all. Once the removal has been completed, all workers must go through a thorough decontamination process. During this process, they should wash themselves with running water and soap before wearing ordinary clothes.
Disposal of asbestos
The ACMs that you collect from a site must be disposed in a safe and acceptable manner according to regulations set by the relevant government authority. In the UK, there are strict requirements for disposal that all contractors must follow. The clothes worn during the removal process must also be disposed together with the ACMs.
There are designated disposal sites where all ACMs must be disposed. Different regions have different sites. Asbestos survey professionals are often required to pay a certain fee for using these sites. There are other ways of disposal apart from disposal site such as incineration. This is where ACMs are combusted under very high temperatures.