With all of the well documented dangers regarding asbestos in the workplace, as well as the home, it is now imperative that employers and their employees, contractors and home owners alike educate themselves as to correct identification, isolation, containment, removal and disposal of all materials containing asbestos.
Every State and Territory across Australia currently have different rules and regulations regarding asbestos and its complex removal and disposal processes. It is your responsibility to ensure that you and your staff or family members are well protected during any renovation work.
The one uniformed rule is that friable asbestos (material which can be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to powder by hand pressure which may also include previously non-friable material which becomes broken or damaged by mechanical force) must be removed by the holder of a Class A license.
Non-friable asbestos (material in which the asbestos fibres were bonded by cement, vinyl, resin or other similar material) can be removed and disposed of by the holder of a Class B licence.
Visit your local WorkSafe website to obtain a list of Class A and/or Class B license holders.
Gone are the days when the only people contracting asbestos related diseases are those that were working in direct contact with the raw material. Nowadays, home renovators are being dangerously exposed. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cabinet makers, kitchen and bathroom renovators, even the installers of roller shutters and air-conditioners are being unknowingly exposed.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could undergo asbestos awareness training so you can identify and even safely remove small amounts of bonded asbestos materials yourself? Well you can! You can now do non-friable asbestos training online in the comfort of your own home or office.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could purchase a do-it-yourself asbestos removal safety kit. This kit would allow you to safely remove up to 10 square metres without the added expense of using an asbestos contractor. It would come with easy to understand step by step instructions along with all safety equipment meeting the Australian Standards? Well you can!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could remove bonded asbestos materials yourself and then have someone come and collect and safely dispose of it for you? Well you can!
Disposing of your already removed bonded asbestos material can be tricky. If you go to your local EPA website, they can assist you with disposal locations closest to your area. There will also be guidelines as to how it needs to arrive at the disposal site with things like packaging size, weight and how it is to be wrapped are some of the key issues.
Another avenue for you to consider instead of removing would be to seal your existing asbestos roof or walls. This procedure is also known as ‘encapsulating’.
This is not a long term solution to your asbestos problem however, it can be a medium term avenue. You need to seal the asbestos first then coat with either standard or uv repellent paint. This will give you a colourbond type look without the high removal and replacement costs.
If you are adamant that you will only have it removed and disposed of by suitably qualified contractor then it is your responsibility to ensure that they are, in fact, suitably qualified. It is best to check with your State or Territory as to the licensing requirements. You can contact your local WorkSafe office or website for further information.
You may also find you have asbestos gaskets inside machinery that may be either exposed or replaced during shutdowns or breakdowns. This usually means downing tools and engaging sub-contractors. If you have chosen to train selected staff to do their asbestos awareness training, they can tackle this job immediately and save you time and money.
The list of materials that were manufactured containing asbestos is almost endless. To become more familiar with the items that have been identified as containing asbestos, go to your local WorkSafe website or obtain a copy of the Compliance code: Removing asbestos in workplaces.