Asbestos Removal Guidelines Queensland
Legislation and Laws for Handling Asbestos
Due to these serious health effects of asbestos, it has to be carefully handled. The asbestos removal guidelines give helpful information on the rules and regulations from the Queensland Government. First though, what is asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals which are made up of microscopic fibres. These fibres naturally exist in a set of six minerals: crocidolite, amosite, chrysotile, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite.
Asbestos can be either friable or non-friable. Friable asbestos contains less than one percent asbestos either by area or by weight. Non-friable asbestos, on the other hand, contains more than one percent asbestos, and cannot be pulverized under hand pressure.
Asbestos has a number of properties. Among its properties are it is inert, which makes it preferable for use in the industry and for use in the construction of buildings. It is also resistant to heat, which initially made it the choice material for use in buildings, and moreover, its fibres don’t evaporate into the air. On top of these, asbestos is insoluble in both water and organic solvents and is also nonflammable.
Asbestos was initially used for construction because of various reasons. First, we have its tensile strength. The tensile strength of asbestos is said to surpass that of steel. Also, depending on the chemical composition, asbestos can be found in different colors, depending on the consumer’s preference.
However, after a while, most countries banned the use of asbestos for various health reasons. Below, we find out why.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Most minerals with health hazards are mostly made chemically in laboratories by human beings. Asbestos stands out because it is a naturally occurring material that has serious health hazards.
When the fibres are inhaled, they cause serious diseases. These diseases take a while to develop, but when diagnosed, rarely is there anything that can be done for the patients. Among these diseases include the following.
This is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and the linings surrounding the lower digestive system.
> Asbestos-related lung cancer
This is lung cancer which is caused by the inhalation of asbestos.
This is the scarring of the lung that is caused by continuous inhalation of asbestos over a number of years.
What is Asbestos Removal?
For buildings that were constructed before 1985, asbestos may have been used in their construction. This might prompt the homeowners to want to get rid of the asbestos due to its adverse health effects.
Asbestos removal is the safe extraction of asbestos from a building, which is mostly done by professionals. Contractors are required to hold either a Class A and Class B license which is stipulayed by the Queensland Government. John Timble from iAsbestos Removal Brisbane says that the Government enforces the regulations heaviliy to ensure a safe working environment for everyone involved. This includes both employees and the general public.
How is Asbestos Removal Done?
1. Identifying the hazards
The Queensland Government requires that the removalist should consider the direct hazards that are as a result of the removal procedure. This varies depending on whether space is confined, whether the work is done at an elevated point or whether there is heat-related stress. If possible, working in all the above situations should be avoided, if not, then appropriate safety measures should be taken.
2. Indicating the areas for removing asbestos
The removalist must clearly indicate and label the areas under where removal will be taking place. Warning signs should be indicated all around the place, and these signs should be weatherproof and legible. Barricades should also be placed around the area under construction for traffic control.
3. Wet and dry methods
There are three ways through which the removalist can remove the asbestos in the affected area. The methods chosen should be the most effective, and should release the least amount of fibres into the surrounding air. The methods are the wet spray method, the saturation and weather injection method and the dry method.
4. Tools and equipment
All contractors must have the appropriate safety equipment and tools required for safe handling and removal. He or she is expected to have asbestos vacuum cleaners, manually operated hand tools and equipment to suppress respirable dust, among other equipment.
5. Air Monitoring
Air monitoring is the assessment of the air for the presence of asbestos fibre. Air monitoring also tests for the effectiveness of the control measures taken by the professional. It includes exposure, control and clearance monitoring.
6. Waste containment and disposal
The removalist should indicate the path through which the waste will pass to ensure that the contamination to the environment is minimal. This is because even a hint of asbestos fibre in the air can affect anyone who inhales it.
Asbestos Regulations in Queensland
The asbestos regulations are as indicated:
a) Each and every business that is involved in handling asbestos should hold a Class A license, for removal of friable asbestos and a Class B license, for removal of non-friable asbestos. Air monitoring, clearance inspection and the issuance of clearance certificates for removal of friable asbestos should be done by a licensed contractor.
b) The contractor should follow both the requirements by the Work Health and Safety Regulation, as well as the additional requirements when it comes to working with asbestos.
c) Every worker who works with asbestos, from assessors to supervisors, should be duly trained to ensure competency in the profession.
d) A visual inspection should be done after the completion of the work. This inspection is done before the normal occupancy of the area.
These regulations are found at Worksafe Queensland.
Asbestos Testing by NATA
NATA is the National Association of Testing Authorities in Australia. During the removal process, NATA has to be among the approving bodies. NATA ensures that the companies doing asbestos removal comply with the asbestos regulations in Australia and Queensland, hence ensuring safety during this process. After the removal, an assessor from NATA is sent to the premises to ensure that there are no asbestos fibres in the area.
Asbestos is the perfect pick as a construction material if its strength properties alone are taken into account. However, its fibres, when released into the air, have far-reaching health hazards. This, therefore, calls for the removal of asbestos from different homes, and this should be done by professionals. This is a process that should be safe, to ensure that the effect on the surrounding environment is minimal. The asbestos removal guidelines Queensland are set out to ensure everyone remains safe.
Further Reading. To learn more about Legislation visit http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/asbestos/general/legislation-and-codes-of-practice.htm