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If you own or manage a commercial property that was built before December 2003 (when asbestos was banned completely), there’s a great chance that it has asbestos in it.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used for insulation and fireproofing. The problem is that it was later found that significant exposure to this material can cause severe lung complications and other diseases.
Therefore, as much as possible, asbestos removal is the next recommended step after the presence of ACMs is confirmed. In this piece, we’re going to explain the process in detail to help you weigh your options.
But before we delve into that, it’s important that you understand why asbestos removal, and why it should be done by a professional, is important in the first place.
Asbestos is known for its great qualities such as strength, durability, and ability to resist heat, fire, and chemicals. But unfortunately, it’s a substance that has more downsides than upsides. Below are only some of the negative effects of asbestos.
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, meaning that it can cause cancer when inhaled or ingested. Significant exposure to asbestos fibres can lead to several serious health conditions, including:
Symptoms of these conditions may not appear for many years after exposure, which can make them difficult to diagnose.
In addition to its potential health effects, asbestos can also be harmful to the environment.
When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, the fibres can be released into the air and can be inhaled by people and animals. This can lead to the contamination of soil and water, which can in turn affect the health of people and wildlife.
These dangers of asbestos make it important to remove and properly dispose of asbestos-containing materials to protect both human and environmental health.
Aside from health reasons, commercial asbestos removal is also important from a legal standpoint.
Many countries and states have laws and regulations that require the removal of asbestos from commercial buildings. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and other penalties. By removing asbestos, businesses like yours can ensure that they are following the law and avoid potential legal consequences.
There are also compliance rules around how asbestos can be removed, with a license being required to remove some types of asbestos – like friable asbestos, as well as restrictions on the amount of asbestos that can be removed by an unlicensed person. By risking it and doing it yourself, you risk not only harming your health and the health of other people in the vicinity but also risk copping large fines.
Here’s how the commercial asbestos removal process normally plays out:
1. Conducting an inspection to determine the location, type, and condition of the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that need to be removed
2. Developing a removal plan that outlines the steps to be taken to safely remove the ACMs, including any precautions that need to be taken to protect workers and the surrounding environment
3. Notifying the appropriate authorities, such as the local health department, about the planned asbestos removal
4. Setting up containment barriers to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres during the removal process
5. Removing the ACMs using specialized equipment, such as wetting agents and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums, to minimize the release of asbestos fibres. More on these later.
6. Disposing of the ACMs in approved disposal facilities
7. Cleaning the site to ensure that all asbestos fibres have been properly removed and disposed of
8. Conducting a final inspection to confirm that the removal was completed successfully and that the area is safe for reoccupation.
There are several different methods of commercial asbestos removal, and the most appropriate method will depend on several factors:
Below are some of the common methods that are used during commercial asbestos removal.
Wet removal is a method of removing asbestos that involves using water to keep the asbestos fibres from becoming airborne. This is done by spraying the asbestos with water or a water-based solution before and during the removal process.
The wet removal method is considered to be safer than dry removal methods because it reduces the risk of asbestos fibres becoming airborne and inhaled. This is particularly important when removing asbestos from areas where people are present, such as in a residential building or commercial building.
However, wet removal is not always possible, depending on the location and condition of the asbestos. For example, wet removal may not be suitable for removing asbestos from ceilings or other overhead structures, or in cases where the asbestos is already wet or damaged.
Only trained and certified asbestos professionals can assess the situation and determine whether wet removal is the most effective removal method.
The enclosure method of asbestos removal involves enclosing or sealing off the asbestos material to prevent the release of asbestos fibres into the air.
This is done by constructing a physical barrier around the asbestos, such as a tent or enclosure, and creating negative air pressure inside the enclosure to prevent the escape of asbestos fibres.
The enclosure method is typically used when it is not possible or safe to remove the asbestos material, such as when the asbestos is located in a difficult-to-access area or when the condition of the material makes it unsafe to remove.
By enclosing the asbestos, the release of asbestos fibres and significant exposure to these fibres is prevented.
However, the enclosure method is not a permanent solution, and the asbestos will still need to be removed at some point.
Additionally, the enclosure itself must be properly maintained and monitored to ensure that it remains effective at preventing the release of asbestos fibres.
The encapsulation method involves coating the asbestos material with a sealant or other material to prevent the release of asbestos fibres into the air. This is done by applying the sealant to the asbestos in a thin, even layer, and allowing it to cure or harden.
This is the perfect method for when the asbestos-containing materials are unsafe to remove because of their condition. By coating the asbestos with a sealant, it is possible to prevent the release of asbestos fibres and protect people from asbestos exposure.
This method involves using specialized equipment, such as shovels, scrapers, and vacuum cleaners, to remove asbestos-containing materials. Mechanical removal is often used for large-scale removal projects and for materials that are in good condition and can be removed without damaging them.
The mechanical removal method is also considered to be one of the safest methods for removing asbestos, as it minimizes the risk of asbestos fibres becoming airborne and inhaled.
Keep in mind that each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the effectiveness of a particular method will depend on the specific circumstances of the removal project.
You must consult with a qualified asbestos removal contractor to determine the most appropriate method for your situation.
No, it is not recommended to remove asbestos yourself.
Asbestos is a hazardous material that can be dangerous to your health if it is disturbed or improperly handled.
Therefore, it is best to leave the removal of asbestos to trained and certified professionals who are equipped with the proper knowledge, skills, and equipment to safely handle the material.
Attempting to remove asbestos yourself can put you and other people at risk of inhaling asbestos fibres, which can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
Dealing with asbestos yourslef can also result in legal and financial consequences if the improper removal of asbestos is discovered. That is why it is best to to consult a professional asbestos removal company if you need to have the material removed.
If you own or manage a commercial building or a workplace in Melbourne, Victoria that has confirmed asbestos presence in it, you should call Asbestos Australia Removalist.
We offer thorough commercial and industrial asbestos removal services to ensure your safety and all the people who work there.
Posted By: Tommy Clappers