Step-by-Step DIY Asbestos Removal
Who would want to live side by side with that notorious substance called asbestos? Absolutely no one, none. Accepting the fact that the fibrous material was installed within the house must have been a very hard thing to do.
Panic? No, don’t get panic. It surely will not help you get rid of those deadly fibres. Informed yourself with as much as the knowledge you can get about how to eliminate asbestos-containing material or ACM from your home.
Check and Recheck
Asbestos is not a friendly material. It can pose a severe health risk if you do not handle it correctly. The fibres can cause serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and the worst case is mesothelioma. You wouldn’t want your removal project to turn into a disaster, right? Therefore, you need to be careful in handling this fibrous material.
The first step you should take to confirm the presence of ACM within your building is taking inspection and testing. These two methods will help you in identifying the asbestos whereabouts in your home. The activities involved are sample collection and analysis. For a valid and accurate result of testing, the samples are recommended to be analysed in a NATA approved laboratory. Following the testing, you will be given a report called asbestos register.
It is a document that provides thorough information related to the location of the asbestos findings within a building. The document should:
- Provide information concerning the location of the identified and assumed ACM inside your property.
- Inform the time when the material was identified
- Document the type (friable or non-friable) and condition of the fibres
- Be reviewed and updated with new information related to the ACM
- Confirm whether or not ACM is identified in the building
Why is Asbestos Register Important?
For building built before the mid-1980s until late 1990s, this register is something that must be owned because buildings constructed during those years have a high tendency of being installed with fibrous materials. This document is also necessary for you who plan to do renovation or removal project because it provides information about the specific location of asbestos within your building, assessment of risk, control measures performed and the details information of the expert who conducted the assessment of the property.
When you know where, what type, condition and capacity of the ACM found in your property, you then can decide whether you can continue with your DIY or engage with a professional removalist for your renovation or removal project.
What You Should Know about DIY for Removal
DIY for asbestos removal is legal, but still the safest and easiest method for removal of fibrous material is hiring a qualified licensed professional. However, some homeowners want to cut cost, so they come up with the DIY plan. Each territory, state or city may have different regulations concerning self-removal of fibrous material by individual who is not a licence-holder. Make sure you check first the regulation related to the rule of removal for an unlicensed individual.
In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007, Pt 4.3 Div. 7, Subdivision 2, a person without a licence is only permitted to do limited asbestos removal work. It is stated that an employer or self-employed individual may conduct removal work of fibrous material following this Subdivision related to non-friable ACM if:
- The area of ACM to be removed is not more than 10M2 in total; and
- The total time for performing asbestos removal is not more than one hour in any period of seven consecutive days
In addition, the regulations also stated that self-employed persons who will do the removal of any fibrous material should have appropriate training. Or, he or she should make sure that the work is performed in a manner that does not, as far as is reasonably practicable, expose other people to risk to safety and health occurring from that removal work of this dangerous fibres.
Step-by-Step How to Remove Asbestos
When you finally decided to do self-removal, you must follow the precautionary rules in handling this fibrous material.
- Before you begin the work, you must post warning signs informing that the work related to dangerous fibres is taking place.
- Place a plastic sheet along the side of the building where the removal is to take place
- Put a plastic disposal bag at this location
- Put on a standard approved mask (P1) and disposal gloves, hat and overall
- Wet the area using a spray bottle to prevent dust from spreading. Do not use high-pressure water blaster
- Do not use tools with high-speed power, such as sanders, grinders, drills and saw for the asbestos material. You need to prevent creating any fibrous dust
- The work should be performed in areas that is well-ventilated, if possible in the open air
- If you work outside, make sure you do not do the removal during windy weather that can cause the fibres to be dispersed
- Remove part containing asbestos
- Wrap and seal the material using 2mm plastic sheeting. All the ACM waste must be put in double bag and double wrapped and packed tightly using duct tape
- Use wet rags to do further clean-up. Do not vacuum or sweep the dust for it will cause the fibres to be airborne
- Label the container with proper warnings
- Once the job is over, wrap all your protective equipment, such as gloves, overalls, mask and hat in a bag ready for disposal
- Remember to wash yourself thoroughly from head to toes
Disposal of Asbestos Waste
You are not allowed to dispose the waste of this fibre in domestic garbage bins. It is considered illegal. Also, you are not permitted to re-use, recycle or dump fibrous products illegally. The waste can only be disposed to a lawfully approved landfill.
Make sure that the waste is disposed:
- immediately as it is reasonably practicable
- in a proper procedure that diminishes the release of airborne fibres
- at a waste disposal site that has a licence approved by Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
Transporting The Waste
The procedure of transporting the waste of fibrous products for the disposal purpose must be performed in a way that diminishes the release of airborne fibrous material. It means you have to ensure that:
- the waste of asbestos is packed securely in containers
- the containers containing waste are safe during transport
the unloading method of the waste is safe