Dealing with The Hazards of Asbestos

For homeowners, the thought of dealing with asbestos management in Brisbane is not something that comes to mind every day. However, the fact is one in three homes has asbestos in some guise or another.

For homeowners, landlords of domestic properties and commercial the potential scenario of dealing with asbestos sends us into a panic. To address this, it is best to search for professional companies that operate in your area to deal with the hazards of asbestos removal and its safe and legal disposal by an asbestos expert.

Why is there so much asbestos in the construction industry?

In the 1990s, the use of asbestos in construction worldwide was pervasive because of its availability and ease of use. Asbestos has remarkable benefits in the construction industry. Not only that it is readily available in the market but also cheap and fire-resistant. It is also a material used as insulation in most homes and commercial and industrial buildings. Asbestos also has a variety of uses such as soundproofing, fire-retardant, decorative molding, and impervious roofing material.

What makes asbestos dangerous and why should we be concerned?

Asbestos is a fibrous product. The fibres of asbestos are as strong as steel and can be molded into sheets, which are used as matting and can be laid as insulation. Asbestos fibres can also be sprayed onto steel work to provide a fire-resistant surface.

Due to the characteristics of asbestos, the fibre strands become airborne once disturbed. The asbestos fibre strands are sub-micron in size and invisible to the naked eye. However, once these particles are in the air, we can inhale the particles and could be detrimental to one’s health.

There have been numerous news stories of litigation and devastating consequences of asbestosis, which result in untimely deaths of individuals exposed to the deadly fibres of asbestos. Doctors also discovered the asbestos was responsible for cancer, specifically mesothelioma. As a consequence, asbestos was banned as a construction product.

The use of asbestos is still a major concern of landlords, commercial properties, and homeowners because they must deal with the hazards of this component that have been previously applied in their properties’ construction.

How can I safely renovate properties and handle asbestos?

Fortunately, owners of properties across Brisbane can seek specialty companies who deal with handling and safe disposal of asbestos from remedial work at your property. These companies are specialised and licenced to handle and transport asbestos for disposal.

Employees from these companies receive special training in dealing with hazardous products, such as asbestos. The companies are issued with Class A or Class B licences to authorise the employees to safely deal with asbestos on behalf of the client.

Class A licence allows removal of any amount or quantity of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. This includes 1) any amount of friable asbestos, 2) any amount of asbestos-contaminated dust or debris, and 3) any amount of non-friable asbestos. Meanwhile, Class B licence allows removal of 1) any amount of non-friable asbestos and 2) asbestos-contaminated dust or debris only.

What can I expect from an asbestos removal contractor?

In all cases, when seeking asbestos removal contractors Brisbane services, they will conduct a complete assessment to evaluate the extent and complexity of the asbestos needed to be removed. Once the property owner approves the evaluation provided, the contractor will need to create a clean zone for employees. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hooded coveralls, boot covers, respirators, and goggles would be needed as this is critical for decontamination after the working day.

In some cases, the property will be made secure with fencing to lessen the possibility of contamination to property owners and may be employees depending on the type of property. The contractor will make a containment area wherever possible for dust abatement. These containment areas will be screened off with heavy-duty plastic sheeting.

As a rule of thumb, if anything in the working area can be moved, it should be moved. All other fixtures and fittings will be covered with heavy-duty drop sheets. As for the floors, they will be covered with drop sheets and taped at all seams. In certain areas where the amount of dust is potentially high, the contractor will use a water mist to control airborne contaminants.

Removed asbestos will be placed in heavy-duty bags and are fully sealed to prevent any contamination. During the cleanup process, vacuum cleaners will be fitted with high-efficiency particle arrestors (HEPA) filters to mitigate the possibility of airborne particles. Lastly, to prevent soil contamination, the contractor may decide to sheet off exposed areas of soil outside of the property.

Can I undertake manage asbestos removal myself?

The answer would be yes and no and the reason for this depends on the area involved. There are laws in place that tackle asbestos removal and there are associated penalties for making a mistake because of lack of knowledge.

It is best to have professionals to manage asbestos in properties as they are trained in occupational health and safety standards. They also have the necessary equipment to execute the job without leaving harmful contaminants behind. While there may be some costs involved in having asbestos removed, there are far worse scenarios that can happen such as breaking the laws related to asbestos removal or a critical illness.

The Bottom Line

For Brisbane landlords and homeowners, it is best to have the residences, commercial units, warehouses, and industrial facilities built in the 1990s to be evaluated from time to time to make sure that the properties are asbestos-free. The only safest course of action is to assume that you have asbestos in your properties to mitigate the risks of asbestos to their families and tenants.

The consequences of ignoring the problem that asbestos could pose can be devastating to the family or business operations as it could potentially cause legal damages or health concerns for the individuals staying in the structure. It is best that properties are checked for the existence of asbestos and are removed right away to prevent any further damages.