CleanSl8 Demolition and Asbestos Removal. Perth. 0484 622 148.

The only way to be 100% sure a material contains asbestos is to have it tested.

Have a look at our asbestos labs page for a list of all NATA accredited laboratories and the prices they charge.

This page is split into 2 sections. The first section is a quick guide on how to remove various types of asbestos sheeting commonly encountered.

The second section is an in depth guide covering all asbestos of asbestos removal in depth. 

*It is always important to check with your local council or Worksafe as to the legalities surrounding DIY asbestos removal. The rules and regulations on this are always changing and vary from state to state.*

D.I.Y Removal

There are three main types of asbestos removal jobs you will encounter. Roofing, cladding and fencing.

Here you will find some tips on removal that will make things faster and safer, reading this guide does not enable you to legally remove asbestos, you will have to get a license before you begin removal.

 

SAFETY PROCEDURES

When removing asbestos the goal is to keep dust released to a minimum, this can be achieved by not breaking sheets, keeping sheets wet down or spraying the sheeting with PVA glue.

Correct removal techniques requires patience, people who are removing asbestos are often tempted to break the sheeting to save time. When you break a sheet, even if has been wet down it will release fibers into the air. On occasion you will have no choice but to break the sheeting, in this case dust can be suppressed by continually hosing down the sheet as it is broken.

When stacking sheeting, sheets should be placed on top of one another, not slid against one another, the friction between sheets will cause the release of fibers.

 

FENCING REMOVAL

Asbestos fencing removal – is usually hard work, hand digging the sheets is often required and in order to do the job properly you will have to dig out and remove the whole sheet. If some of the sheet remains in the ground when it comes time to put in the fence the asbestos can get in the way. You cannot deviate around the asbestos as this will result in a crooked fence or one neighbor ends up with a smaller backyard and the other bigger.

Bolts that hold the sheets in place can be rusted and difficult to remove. You can remove bolts using a battery powered rattle gun with flat blade screw driver attachment. You will need a partner on the other side of the fence with an adjustable spanner to hold the nut in place while the rattle gun is being used.

faltbladedewaltadjustable spannershovel

CLADDING REMOVAL

Asbestos Cladding – can be removed in a variety of ways. Asbestos cladding basically involves the removal of nails from the sheeting. Nails can be removed in a variety of ways the most popular include nail pullersnail pliers, cold chisel or nail punches.

nail pullernail punchnail pinchercold chisel

Using a cold chisel you can knock of the head of the nails by putting the chisel next to the nail and hitting it with a hammer. I have found this method sometimes cracks the sheeting (releasing fibers), but is fairly quick which is a good thing when you are removing hundreds of nails. Usually only useful for removing the heads from smaller nails.

cold chisel

 

Nail pullers – are probably the best option when removing nails they are quick and do not tend to crack the sheeting, however they will create a small amount of dust when removing the nail.

nail puller

Nail punches – are a slower but cleaner method of removing nails from asbestos sheeting. Put the punch on the head of the nail and hit the punch with a hammer, this will drive the nail back into the sheet.

nail-punch1

 

The slowest but safest method for nail removal shown below. If you are afraid of asbestos contamination use the method demonstrated in the video below. This method can be used to remove all nails in any asbestos sheeting. This video is not a good demonstration of the P.P.E required to remove asbestos.

 

 

ROOFING REMOVAL

Roofing bolts are best removed by impact driver with flat blade attachment.

dewaltfaltblade

Roof removal is probably the most dangerous type of asbestos removal. Before work is carried begun you should always clear the area below where you are working, this is to prevent that may fall through the roof becoming impaled on objects below.

Planks of wood should be used to walk on when working on a roof. Old asbestos roofs can be thin due to erosion of wind, hail and rain over many years. Using planks spreads the weight out, minimizing the risk of falling through.

asbestos-roof-removal

A roof higher than one story will require much more safety precautions such as harnesses and scaffolding, this type of work should be left to professionals.

Safety Equipment

Respirators – You have a choice between paper, half face mask and full face mask respirators. With the half mask and full mask you will have a choice of two filters a p2 and a p3 filter.

A properly worn full face mask will provide more protection than a half face mask worn properly, this is mostly because the full face mask does not allow asbestos to get on the skin if worn correctly with the coveralls over the mask.

safety equipment

A p2 filter will stop 95% of airborne particulate matter, a p3 filter will stop about 99% of airborne particles. A p2 filter will need to be changed less often when compared to a p3. Both types of filter are suitable for protection against asbestos.

Untitled-2half-face-respiratorfull-face-respirator

You will have to do a seal test before purchasing a respirator. The video below shows you how to do your own seal test.

Coveralls – It is important to check that coveralls are rated for use with asbestos.

coveralls

Boots – Boots should have no laces and steel caps. Steel capped gumboots are the best choice for asbestos removal.

Asbestos fibers will become trapped in fabric, fabric footwear such as sneakers and the laces on boots will have to be discarded as asbestos waste at the end of each job.

Asbestos can be carried into your home from your footwear.

gumboots2nolaces

Gloves – Fabric gloves should be avoided, asbestos will become trapped in the fabric. Dish washing gloves are more suitable.

 

D.I.Y Dangers

 

 

 

asbestos lungs

 

Asbestos removal is a dangerous task, if performed incorrectly contamination of your house or your backyard can occur. In addition to the risk of contamination of the work site due to incorrect procedures, there is a risk to personal health, through the inhalation of fibers and injuries that could be potentially sustained during the removal process.

Recent statistics show a large increase in asbestos related illness in people who’s exposure has been linked to renovation work.

In the past decade there has been a 700% increase in females and 250% increase in the number of cases of mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from renovations.

This research show that females seem particularly venerable to the effects of asbestos exposure. Earlier research has concluded that along with females, children and smokers are most at risk from developing an asbestos related illness after exposure.

Other studies have show that a smoker is eighty times more likely to die from an asbestos illness than a non smoker that has had similar workplace exposure levels.

Most of these statistics come from the research conducted into the rates of disease in former employees and residents of Whitenoom.

Contamination of the area where asbestos is being removed from can be caused by incorrect safety procedures being followed. If you are performing internal work you will need to be extra cautious when removing the material yourself.

Asbestos fibers if spread throughout the home, will cling to and become in bedded in fabrics. Your carpets, bedding, clothes and curtains could all become asbestos contaminated if you do not follow correct safety procedures.

Internal work is best left to the professionals who will take steps to ensure that asbestos is not spread throughout the home. If you are thinking about removing asbestos from inside your home yourself then it would be advisable to obtain the necessary training which will educate you on how to prevent asbestos from spreading throughout your home.

Even when you are wearing the correct safety equipment you will still end up inhaling asbestos fibers that become airborne. Filters on asbestos respirators are rated on how many % of the airborne particulate matter they stop from going through the filter. P2 and P3 filters are filters that comply with Australian standards for asbestos removal.

A P2 filter will stop 95% of airborne particulate matter and a P3 filter stops 99% of airborne particulate matter. This means your filters will still let 1% to 5% of airborne particles through the filter.

Although filters reduce the amount of airborne particles inhaled to an acceptable risk, they do not completely eliminate it. This is why it is always important to avoid breaking, sawing or abrading sheets when removing asbestos.

Asbestos exposure can cause asbestosos, mesothelioma, plural plaques and cancer. The more fibers inhaled the greater the risk of developing complications.

If you breathe in only a small amounts of fibers then your risk of developing health complications is small, but not zero. There are many cases of people developing problems with only a single time exposure or unknown exposure source.

 

 

 In Depth Removal Guide

 

 

                               Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Personal protective clothing needs to be provided and worn at all times during

all work in the asbestos removal area prior to achieving a satisfactory final

clearance inspection. Personal protective clothing needs to be made from

materials which provide protection against fibre penetration.

 

   

                                        Coveralls

Clothing made from wool or other materials that attract fibrous dusts should

not be worn at the asbestos removal site. Coveralls should not have external

pockets or velcro fastenings because these are easily contaminated and

difficult to decontaminate. Any clothing worn under coveralls must be disposed

of or suitably bagged for laundering as asbestos-contaminated clothing.

Disposable coveralls are preferred although some are easily torn (these

are unsuitable and should not be worn). Disposable coveralls should also:

  •  never be re-used or taken home
  •  be disposed of as asbestos waste after a single use
  •  be of a suitable standard to prevent penetration of asbestos fibers
  • be one size too big as this will help prevent ripping at the seams

– if cuffs are loose ensure they are sealed with tape

– ensure coverall legs are worn over footwear as tucking them in

lets dust in

– ensure the hood is worn over the respirator straps.

 

In some limited circumstances, for example if there is a fire hazard, disposable

protective clothing is not appropriate and re-usable types may be used.

 

Used non-disposable coveralls must be either disposed of after a single use or

laundered. However, laundering of asbestos-contaminated protective clothing is

not recommended because decontamination cannot be guaranteed. If re-usable

protective clothing is to be laundered.

 

Special attention needs to be paid to the risk of heat stress and burns from

working in very hot environments. A competent person needs to assess this

risk and determine the most suitable protective clothing and decontamination

procedures for employees in these situations.

 

                                      Gloves

The use of protective gloves needs to be determined by a risk assessment.

If significant quantities of asbestos fibers may be present, single-use disposable

gloves need to be worn. If latex gloves must be used, select low protein

(powder free) gloves. Gloves used for asbestos removal work need to be

disposed of as asbestos waste. Laundering/cleaning these gloves is not

recommended due to physical damage/deterioration as a result of the work

performed and cleaning process.

 

Regardless of whether gloves are used, asbestos removal workers need

to clean their hands and fingernails thoroughly after work.

 

Appropriate safety footwear (ie steel-capped, rubber-soled work shoes or

gumboots) needs to be provided for all persons removing asbestos. This

footwear needs to be lace less as laces and eyelets are easily contaminated and

difficult to clean. Footwear needs to remain inside the barricaded area or dirty

decontamination area for the duration of the asbestos removal work and should

not be shared due to hygiene reasons. When safety footwear is not in use it

needs to be stored upside down to minimize asbestos-contamination inside the

footwear. Storage facilities need to be provided to allow this. Disposable

overshoes should be avoided because they cause a slipping risk.

 

At the end of the job and upon leaving the work area, safety footwear must be:

  •  decontaminated
  • sealed in double bags for use on the next asbestos removal site

(but not for any other type of work), or

  • disposed as asbestos waste.

 

All persons engaged in asbestos removal work must wear respiratory protective

equipment (PPE) conforming to the requirements of AS/NZS 1716:2003

 

The selection, use and maintenance of respirators needs to be in accordance

with AS/NZS 1715:1994 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory

protective devices and manufacturer’s instructions.

 

The suitability of employees for work in the asbestos removal industry needs

to be assessed by a qualified medical practitioner. Employees must be medically

fit to wear PPE – the employer needs to seek medical advice if there is any

uncertainty. If a medical condition precludes the use of negative pressure

respirators, employees need to be provided with a continuous flow, positive

pressure respirator wherever possible.

 

Respirators need to be issued to individuals for their exclusive use – employees

need to select a size and make that fits them. The fit of a negative-pressure

respirator to a person’s face is critical. A fit test, in accordance with AS/NZS

1715:1994 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective devices and

the manufacturer’s instructions, needs to be performed to assist in determining

that the respirator fits the individual. It is difficult for an individual to establish

that a disposable respirator provides the required fit. For this reason it is

recommended that where a half-face respirator has been determined as

providing the required level of protection, a non-disposable respirator be used.

 

All asbestos removal employees using negative-pressure respirators that

require a facial seal must be clean shaven or they won’t be protected properly.

Employees with beards, stubble or facial hair need to use a continuous flow

positive pressure respirator.

 

Employees requiring the use of prescription glasses may not be able to use

full-face respirators because of the loss of seal around the spectacle arms.

If their glasses cannot be modified so they do not need the support of the ears,

these people should not use full-face respirators and need to wear air supply

hoods instead. However, it is important to be sure these hoods will provide a

sufficient level of protection.

 

The level of respiratory protection required (eg P1, P2, P3 and supplied air

respirators) needs to be determined by a competent person in accordance

with the asbestos removal task to be undertaken.

 

A competent person may change the level of respiratory protection at any stage

during the removal process following a thorough assessment of the fiber levels

experienced inside the asbestos work area. Typically, this may occur during the

final clean-up after the removal of friable ACM (eg when the use of air-lines

is no longer considered necessary).

 

 

A fit check (different to a fit test), in accordance with AS/NZS 1715:1994

Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective devices and the

manufacturer’s instructions, needs to be performed immediately before

commencing work with the respirator each time it is to be used.

 

The respirator must be worn in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions

and the coverall hood must go over the respirator straps. It must be worn

at all times in the removal area and until the appropriate stage of personal

decontamination at the end of a shift or at a break.

 

As part of the decontamination process, ensure the respirator is taken off last.

Disposable respirators are not a preferred form of respiratory protection for

asbestos removal work. If used, they must be disposed of as asbestos waste

after a single use. Non-disposable respirators must be cleaned and stored in a

safe place away from contamination.

 

The respirator should never be left lying around where it can collect dust

and should never be dangled around a person’s neck.

 

A system of regular cleaning, inspection and maintenance must be provided

for non-disposable respirators. Records of all respirator uses and maintenance

need to be established and kept up-to-date (eg a log book). Respirators need

to be maintained in a clean and good working condition by the person

responsible for their safe working condition. All parts, including filters, valves

and seals, need to be inspected before and after each use. Respirator defects

need to be reported immediately to the supervisor of the removal job for repair

or replacement.

 

The length of time a particulate filter for asbestos removal work is used

depends on resistance to breathing and damage to the filter. The filter needs

to be replaced when damaged or when resistance increases in accordance

with the manufacturer’s instructions. A damaged filter must be replaced

before resistance begins to increase. It also needs to be replaced before

any manufacturer-recommended period if the filter is damaged or resistance

 

Certain brands of filters may not be able to be re-used after being exposed to

certain conditions such as a full decontamination shower. Specific advice needs

to be sought from the supplier regarding the effectiveness of a filter after it has

been exposed to a decontamination shower to assist in determining whether it

may continue to be used or needs to be disposed of.

General requirements for all asbestos removal

Figure 1: Fit check.

Full or half-face respirator fit check:

  • close off inlet to filter
  • inhale gently
  • hold for 10 seconds
  • face piece needs to remain slightly collapsed.

 

All filters used during asbestos removal work must be disposed of as asbestos

waste. Filters must not be cleaned in an effort to extend their life. Tapping of

the filter or using compressed air on it can cause damage and reduce the

protection it provides. However, gently patting the respirator/filter with a damp

cloth to remove any external dust as part of a decontamination process is

 

The correct filter must be fitted to the face piece otherwise the respirator would

not meet relevant standards and may not provide the required protection.

 

Air-line respirators are only required for certain types of friable asbestos

removal work. Therefore, this section is not applicable to permitted unlicensed

removal or class B-licensed removal work.

 

Where air-lines are used, they need to incorporate a backup filter. Where failure

of the air supply system occurs, employees need to leave the work area using

normal decontamination procedures. The use of a backup filter device allows

for adequate respiratory protection during this process.

 

If the number of employees wearing air-line respirators inside an enclosure

is likely to result in the tangling of air-lines, manifolds need to be provided to

reduce tangling and assist employees to move around the enclosure. The

capacity of the compressor needs to be adequate for the number of air-lines,

and the location of the compressor’s air intake needs to be assessed to ensure

appropriate air quality and avoid contamination.

 

All employees who undertake any asbestos removal work must receive

instruction and training in:

  •  fit testing/checking
  • the importance of a correct facial fit
  • the correct method of using their respirators
  • the requirements of the system of regular cleaning, inspection and

maintenance before they commence work with respirators

  • when to stop removal work and leave the area if they think their PPE

is not working properly.

Employers must ensure the above training has been understood by employees.

Suppliers of respirators can assist with this training.

 

The use of the respirator in ways other than that recommended by the

manufacturer would mean the respirator does not meet AS/NZS 1716:2003

 

                       Respiratory protective devices

 

The Regulations require an employer or self-employed person performing

asbestos removal work to use signs to clearly indicate the area where the

removal work is being performed. These signs must be placed so they inform

all people nearby that asbestos removal work is taking place in the area.

 

Signs need to be weatherproof, lightweight and securely situated so they

remain in prominent locations such as entry points to the asbestos work area.

 

In addition to signs, barricades need to be used to indicate the area where the

removal work is being performed. Barricades also need to be used to assist in

preventing access to the asbestos removal area.

 

Tools and equipment include asbestos vacuum cleaners, manually operated

hand tools (such as chisels, spatulas, brooms and brushes), power tools and

spray equipment to suppress airborne dust.

 

 

Warning: In any removal job, domestic vacuum cleaners are unsuitable and

should never be used even if they have a HEPA filter.

 

Asbestos vacuum cleaners can only be used for collecting small pieces of

asbestos dust and debris. Larger pieces need to be picked up and placed in

suitable waste containers. They should never be broken into smaller sizes for

 

Asbestos vacuum cleaners should not be used for vacuuming wet materials

because this can damage the HEPA filter.

 

The correct attachment to the asbestos vacuum cleaner for the type of surface

being cleaned needs to be used. Note that brush attachments are difficult to

clean properly.

 

Procedures need to be established for the general maintenance (including

emptying) of asbestos vacuum cleaners in a controlled environment. A

competent person wearing the correct PPE needs to empty asbestos vacuum

cleaners in a controlled environment and in compliance with the manufacturer’s

instructions. It is often more convenient and safer to empty the vacuum cleaner

in the asbestos removal area with PPE.

 

When the asbestos removal work is completed, the vacuum cleaner and

attachments need to be decontaminated. If possible, clean the vacuum cleaner’s

outer casing and attachments with the vacuum cleaner, followed by damp rags.

Visually inspect the case, hose and attachments then store in

a labelled impervious container. Place a cap over the opening to the asbestos

vacuum cleaner when the attachments are removed.

 

When required, remove the bag and filter in accordance with the manufacturer’s

instructions and dispose of them as asbestos waste. Wipe the inside and

outside of the vacuum cleaner with damp rags (dispose of rags as asbestos

waste after use). The vacuum cleaner needs to be re-sealed in the storage

container provided. The sealed storage container then needs to be

decontaminated by wet wiping the exterior before being removed from the

asbestos work area. In between removal jobs, the vacuum cleaner needs to

be isolated to prevent untrained persons using it in an inappropriate manner.

 

Whenever possible, asbestos vacuum cleaners should not be hired as they

can be difficult to fully decontaminate. If hiring is necessary, vacuum cleaners

need to be:

  •  hired only from organisations that provide vacuum cleaners specifically

for work with asbestos

  •  transported in a sealed airtight storage container with instructions that it

may be removed only when it is inside the asbestos work area and users

are wearing appropriate PPE.

Organisations that hire out asbestos vacuum cleaners must ensure that all

their asbestos vacuum cleaners, filters and bags are maintained in good

working order. People hiring asbestos vacuum cleaners must be competent

to use them safely.

               

                                                                     Tools 

Care needs to be taken in selecting tools for asbestos removal work. In addition

to being suitable for the work, all tools need to prevent or minimize the

generation and dispersion of airborne asbestos fibers as much as possible.

Such tools may include scrapers, chisels, bolt-cutters and screwdrivers.

 

The Regulations state that a broom, brush, high-pressure water jet, power tool

or other similar tool or instrument must not be used on asbestos unless the use

is controlled. The control must be in the form of an enclosure, an engineering

control or a combination of these so that a person is not likely to be exposed

to more than one half of the exposure standard. A person cannot rely on

respiratory protection to ensure their exposure is reduced to half the exposure

standard. The use of such a tool or instrument may require personal air

monitoring to demonstrate that exposure is not likely to exceed half the

exposure standard.

 

In any case, the use of power tools in asbestos removal work needs to be

avoided because of the potential generation of airborne asbestos fibers and

the possibility of internal contamination of the tool (which commonly occurs

with such devices).

 

Manually operated hand tools are preferred. If they are not adequate, low-speed

battery powered tools may be considered. Battery-powered tools fitted with

a local exhaust ventilation dust control hood are likely to meet the

regulatory requirements.

 

The use of brooms or brushes in asbestos removal work needs to be avoided

because of the potential generation of airborne asbestos fibers. However,

if the removal work is within an enclosure the use of brooms or brushes would

be appropriate as any airborne dust generated would be captured.

 

At the end of the removal work, all tools must be:

  •  decontaminated (ie fully dismantled and cleaned under controlled conditions

 

  • placed in sealed containers (to be re-opened at other asbestos removal

jobs in the removal area under controlled conditions), or

  •  disposed of as asbestos waste.

                                             

                                                     Spray equipment

A constant low-pressure water supply is required for wetting down ACM and

related items to suppress airborne asbestos fibers. This can be achieved with a

mains-supplied garden hose fitted with a pistol grip. If no water supply is readily

available, a portable pressurizer vessel (such as a pump-up garden sprayer)

may be used. For very small areas, a small spray water bottle may be sufficient.

In all cases, the use of water needs to be in the form of a mist to minimize the

potential to generate airborne dust.

 

                                                      Wet and dry methods of removing ACM

 

Wherever possible, dry ACM should not be worked on.

 

Techniques that prevent or minimize the generation of airborne asbestos fibers

need to be used. The following methods can assist in preventing or minimizing

the generation of airborne asbestos fibers.

 

Wet spray method (preferred)

 

A fine water spray needs to be applied to the ACM in a manner that ensures

the entire surface of the ACM is saturated but minimizes run-off. It needs to be

maintained in a wet condition.

 

In many instances it is helpful if a wetting agent (surfactant), such as detergent,

is added to the water as this facilitates more rapid wetting of the ACM.

 

A manually controlled, consistent low-pressure, fine spray (such as from an

adjustable pistol-grip garden hose) is recommended.

 

 

The design of the spraying equipment will depend on the availability of a water

supply and access to the area to be sprayed.

 

While the water spray needs to be copious, it should not be so forceful that the

water droplets generate dust when they hit the surface of the ACM.

 

Immediately after the ACM is removed from its fixed/installed position, it should

also be sprayed on sides previously not exposed.

 

When cutting equipment is being used to remove ACM that is friable, the water

spray needs to be directed at the site of the cut and the wet material needs

to be removed as the cut progresses.

 

The wet ACM needs to be removed in sections, immediately placed in

suitably labelled asbestos waste containers and properly sealed. Any small sections that might be

dislodged need to be collected and properly disposed of as asbestos waste.

 

The wet spray method is the preferred removal method. It can only be used

however, if:

  • the ACM is not covered with other materials such as calico or metal cladding

which require prior removal – in this case the ACM should be wet as the

cover is being removed from each section

  • the ACM is not coated with paint or mastic
  • any rapid temperature drop caused by excessive water will not damage

heated metal components

  • no live electrical conductors are present and no damage to electrical

equipment can arise from the ingress of water.

 

Although airborne asbestos fibers are significantly suppressed when the wet

spray method is used, they are not entirely eliminated so effective respiratory

protection is also essential.

 

Consideration needs to be given to applying a PVA emulsion as it may be more

effective than water (with a wetting agent) in reducing fiber release.

 

Wherever reasonably practicable, a HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner needs to be

used in conjunction with the wet spray method (eg prior to spraying ACM with

water, dust spread over a large area may be collected using the HEPA-fitted

vacuum cleaner).

 

                      Dry removal method (not preferred)
The dry removal method can only be used if the wet spray method is not

suitable (eg if there are live electrical conductors or if major electrical

equipment could be permanently damaged or made dangerous by contact

with water).

 

There is a much greater potential for airborne asbestos fibers to be generated

with the dry removal method than the wet spray method.

 

Accordingly, if the dry removal method has to be used, the following controls

need to be implemented.

 

                                                      Friable Removal

Fully enclose the work area with plastic sheeting (at least 200 micron thick)

and maintain at a negative pressure (at least 12 Pa water gauge). Ensure all

employees involved in the removal operation wear full-face positive-pressure

supplied air-line respirators.

 

Enclose the removal area as far as reasonably practicable.

Both friable and non-friable removal.

 

The ACM needs to be removed in small, pre-cut sections with minimal

disturbance to reduce the generation of airborne asbestos fibers as much as

possible. Wherever reasonably practicable, a HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner

needs to be used and waste material needs to be immediately placed in

appropriate wet containers.

 

This method involves injecting water or a water-based solution directly into

friable ACM. It is a process that requires specific training in relation to the

use of the equipment and the process.

 

Decontamination facilities are required for:

  •  decontaminating the work area
  • decontaminating tools and equipment
  •  personal decontamination.

 

Asbestos-contaminated dust and debris must be collected in a safe

manner and the asbestos removal area must be decontaminated (paying

particular attention to walls, ledges, fittings and furnishings). Two types of

decontamination procedures may be used – wet and dry decontamination.

 

Wet decontamination (or wet/damp wiping) involves the use of damp rags

to collect settled dust. Similar to the wet spray method, this

method of decontamination needs to be used in combination with a dry

decontamination method.

 

A HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner may be used initially to clean the area,

followed by damp rags to collect any residual

dust. For very small non-friable removal work, use of damp rags alone may be

adequate. Employees must be trained in an appropriate procedure to ensure

dust is collected and disposed of correctly (and not distributed elsewhere).
Wet wiping may be used in an area that is isolated where employees are

wearing appropriate PPE and bigger pieces of debris have been picked

up and placed in waste containers. Cotton rags that do not leave bits on

clean surfaces may be soaked in a bucket of water, folded in half or quarters

and wrung out. The rag can then be used to wipe the contaminated surface

and may be re-folded so a clean surface of the rag is used (this may be

repeated until all clean surfaces of the rag are used). All used rags must be

disposed of as asbestos waste. Care needs to be taken to avoid any potential

electrical hazards.

 

Dry decontamination can only be used where wet methods are not suitable

or pose a risk because of other hazards such as electricity or slipping. Dry

decontamination procedures include carefully rolling or folding up plastic

sheeting and/or vacuuming the asbestos work area with a HEPA-fitted vacuum

cleaner. Employees must be trained in an appropriate procedure to ensure dust

is collected and disposed of.

 

Vacuuming may be used in an area that is isolated and where employees are

wearing appropriate PPE. Bigger pieces of debris need to be wet, picked

up by hand and placed in waste containers.

 

All tools and equipment used during the removal task must be decontaminated

using either the wet or dry decontamination procedures before they are

removed from the asbestos removal area. Otherwise they need to be double

bagged for later use or disposed of as asbestos-contaminated waste. The

method chosen will depend on its practicality, the level of contamination and

the presence of any electrical hazards.

 

If tools and equipment cannot be decontaminated in the asbestos removal

area and are to be re-used at another asbestos removal area, they need to:

  • be tagged to indicate asbestos contamination
  • be double bagged in clearly labelled asbestos bags with an appropriate

warning statement before being removed from the asbestos removal area

  • remain sealed until they have been decontaminated or the commencement

of the next asbestos removal/maintenance task (where the equipment can

be taken into the removal area and re-used under controlled conditions).

 

PPE needs to be worn when opening the bag to clean or re-use the

equipment or tools and decontamination can only be performed

in a controlled environment.

 

In some circumstances it may be better to dispose of contaminated tools

and equipment depending on the level of contamination and the ease

of replacement.

 

Employers have a legal duty to provide, so far as is reasonably practicable,

adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at any workplace under the

management and control of the employer. Such facilities may include personal

decontamination facilities. The provision of decontamination facilities is

essential for asbestos removal work.

 

Employers must provide appropriate personal decontamination facilities for the

duration of the removal work. The type of decontamination required will depend

on the type and condition of asbestos (ie friable or non-friable), the work

method used and site conditions. Some asbestos removal work necessitates

the use of decontamination units.

 

WorkSafe’s Workplace amenities and work environment compliance code states

that employees who undertake work which requires strenuous effort, involves

possible exposure to infectious agents or other contaminants or leaves them

dirty or smelly, need to have access to showers before leaving work.

 

 

This means that even though the asbestos removal aspect of the work may not require personal decontamination to include decontamination units access to showers before leaving work may still be required. Personal washing and hygiene are essential (particular attention needs to be paid to the hands, fingernails, face and head).

 

Personal decontamination must be undertaken each time employees leave the

asbestos work area. Personal decontamination needs to be performed within

the asbestos work area where re-contamination cannot occur.

 

Asbestos-contaminated personal protective clothing should not be transported

outside the asbestos removal area except for disposal or laundering purposes.

 

Before personal protective clothing and footwear worn during asbestos removal

work are removed, they need to be decontaminated to the point where the

generation of airborne dust from the subsequent handling of the clothing and

footwear is minimized. This preferably needs to be done by vacuuming with a

HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner to remove any asbestos fibers.

 

Footwear also needs to be wet-wiped.

 

Respiratory protective equipment can only be removed after:

  •  decontaminating personal protective clothing and footwear

(as described above)

  • bagging personal protective clothing for disposal (or laundering)
  • completing personal washing.

Any contaminated PPE used while carrying out asbestos removal work

must not be taken home.

For the purpose of this section, a small quantity of non-friable ACM is:

  • any quantity permitted to be removed by an unlicensed person
  •  ACM cladding on an average size house.

Where small quantities of non-friable ACM are being removed, a competent

person may decide that the personal decontamination procedure can safely be used instead of a full decontamination unit.

This decision is made based on a risk assessment that takes into account the:

  •  condition of the ACM
  • difficulty in performing the removal
  • level of airborne dust likely to be generated
  • available cleaning/washing facilities at the site
  • duration of the task.

 

In some cases (particularly dusty jobs), double coveralls need to be used with

the outer coverall being removed a predetermined distance from the final

decontamination area.

 

Establish a decontamination area. This area needs to be selected so that it:

  •  is isolated from the asbestos removal work area
  • includes sufficient space for equipment for decontamination
  •  has access routes that allow persons to leave the asbestos removal work

area and do not require them to re-enter it after personal decontamination.

 

Workers need to decontaminate every time they leave the asbestos removal

work area. Remove all visible asbestos dust/residue from protective clothing

and footwear using an asbestos vacuum cleaner and/or wet wiping with

a damp rag. Use damp rags with a gentle patting action

(rubbing can disturb fibers) or spray overalls with a fine mist spray to suppress

the dust. Where there are two employees, they can help clean each other.

Carefully peel off disposable coveralls (while still wearing the respirator).

They need to be peeled off inside out and then placed in an asbestos-waste

container. Footwear needs to be wet-wiped.

 

If non-disposable coveralls are used, they need to be completely wet before being double

bagged, labelled and sent to an appropriate laundering facility.

 

Remove and place disposable respirators into an asbestos-waste container.

If non-disposable respirators are used, they need to be gently patted with a

damp rag while still being worn. The rag then needs to be placed into an

asbestos-waste container and the respirator removed and thoroughly cleaned.

 

The respirator must only be removed after coveralls are removed and bagged.

After removing the respirator, workers need to wash their face and hands,

paying particular attention to their fingernails.

 

If site washing facilities are used, restrict access by other people during

asbestos removal work. Clean washing facilities daily and at the end of the job

with wet rags. Inspect the facilities once the job is finished to ensure the area

is clean.

 

The above method of personal decontamination might be suitable after

the removal of the following non-friable ACM:

  • an asbestos (Zelemite) electrical switchboard
  •  small amounts of asbestos cement sheeting (covering an average house)

or vinyl floor covering

  •  minor amounts of asbestos debris
  •  asbestos cement conduits and in ground surface pits.

However, where these forms of ACM are friable, more extensive

decontamination procedures are required. The measures adopted need to be

based on a risk assessment where the risks of each individual asbestos removal

job are assessed to determine the appropriate decontamination procedure.

 

The person performing the removal work must have a system of work for

containing and disposing of the asbestos waste, no matter how big or small

the removal work is.

 

A waste disposal program needs to be developed, taking account of:

  •  the containment of waste so as to eliminate the release of airborne

asbestos fibers

  • the location and security of waste storage on site
  •  the transport of waste within the site and off site
  • the location of the waste disposal site
  • approvals needed from the relevant local disposal authority
  •  any local disposal authority requirements that may apply to the amount

and dimensions of asbestos waste.

 

Loose asbestos waste must not be allowed to accumulate within the asbestos

work area. It must be contained so as to eliminate the release of airborne

asbestos fibers. This may be achieved by the use of double bags or polythene

sheeting, a polythene-lined drum or bin or a double-lined skip.

 

Only unused bags and polythene sheeting can be used. Bags marked for

asbestos waste should not be used for any other purpose.

 

Controlled wetting of the asbestos waste must be carried out to reduce

asbestos-dust emissions during bag/polythene sealing or any subsequent

rupture of the bag or wrapped bundles.

 

The external surface of each waste container (ie bag or wrapped bundle)

must be decontaminated/cleaned to remove any dust before the container

is removed from the asbestos removal area.

 

The routes to be used for removing waste from the asbestos removal area

need to be designated before the commencement of each removal, preferably

as part of the asbestos removal control plan. The methods used

to transport waste through a building need to be determined by a competent

person following discussions with the asbestos removalist. In occupied

buildings, all movement of waste containers through a building need to take

place outside normal working hours.

 

Once the waste has been removed from the asbestos removal area, it must

either be:

  •  placed in a solid waste drum, bin or skip for secure storage and eventual

disposal, or

  •  immediately removed from the site by an licensed

carrier for disposal.

 

Waste containers must not be stored at the asbestos removal site if they are

not contained to eliminate the release of airborne asbestos fibers (eg within

locked solid containers such as drums, bins, skips or in containers within locked

areas). Containers must also be labelled to indicate the presence of asbestos.

 

Prior to packaging the asbestos, the site to which the waste is to be taken

needs to be contacted to establish any specific packaging requirements they may have.

 

If anything is to be taken out of the removal work area for re-use, the items

must be inspected by a competent person to establish there is no residual

asbestos on the items. Items may include a structural beam previously covered

with sprayed asbestos or light fixtures from an asbestos-contaminated ceiling.

 

Generally where drums or bins are required for containing asbestos

waste, the amount of ACM removed would be greater than 10 square metres.

Therefore, a licensed removalist would be required to perform this work.

 

Asbestos waste, such as friable ACM and small pieces of non-friable ACM,

needs to be contained in heavy-duty 200 micron (minimum thickness)

polythene bags that are no more than 1200mm-long and 900mm-wide.

 

Hard and sharp asbestos waste requires preliminary sealing or a protective

covering before it is placed in a waste bag to minimize the risk of damage

to the bags.

 

To further minimize the risk of a bag tearing or splitting and to assist in manual

handling, asbestos waste bags should not be filled more than half full and

excess air needs to be gently evacuated from the waste bag in a way that does

not cause the release of dust. Depending on the weight of the items placed

in the bag, half filling a bag may be excessive.

 

All asbestos waste needs to be double bagged outside the removal areas

immediately following the decontamination process. The bags then need

to be twisted tightly and have the neck folded over and secured with adhesive

tape (referred to as goose-necking).

 

If a decontamination unit is being used for the asbestos removal work, asbestos

waste bags need to be removed using the following ‘production line’ operation:

  • One worker is located in each section of the decontamination unit.
  •  The waste bags are passed from cubicle to cubicle and ‘showered out’

to remove any asbestos residue.

  •  Once they have been removed from the decontamination unit, the waste

bags are double bagged prior to disposal.

 

Asbestos, such as asbestos sheeting and redundant asbestos lagged pipes

and equipment, needs to be contained in heavy-duty 200 micron (minimum

thickness) polythene sheeting.

 

Asbestos sheeting needs to be bundled securely. These bundles and redundant

asbestos lagged pipes and equipment need to be double wrapped in the

polythene sheeting and adhesive tape needs to be used to tape the entire

length of every overlap. Wrapped bundles of asbestos sheeting and redundant

asbestos lagged pipes and equipment need be of a size that minimizes the risk

of the polythene sheeting tearing or splitting and/or a manual handling injury

 

Asbestos waste must be disposed of as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Generally, this means the asbestos waste must be disposed of at the end of

the removal job or when the waste containers are full. It must also be disposed

of at the end of each day if waste on the removal site cannot be secured (that

is untrained/unprotected people can come into contact with the waste). Where

waste can be secured, it also needs to be labelled to indicate that it contains

asbestos waste.

 

In some cases, very small quantities of waste may be brought back to a central

location where the waste is stored in a labelled, secure container. This container

is then taken to an EPA Victoria-licensed asbestos waste disposal site once it is

full. This approach may be appropriate where a company, such as a utilities

company, occasionally removes small quantities of ACM (eg electric meter

boards) or a licensed removalist has removed a very small quantity of ACM

(eg two square meters). EPA Victoria should be contacted to establish whether

such storage, until disposal, is acceptable.

 

Anyone removing asbestos needs to first establish the specific waste disposal

site’s requirements for packaging the asbestos waste otherwise it may not be

accepted. All asbestos waste must be removed from the workplace by a

competent person and transported and disposed of in accordance with the

Regulations and EPA Victoria requirements. Asbestos waste must be disposed

of at an EPA Victoria-licensed asbestos waste disposal site and disposal must

be carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos

fibers, which means ensuring:

  •  asbestos waste is securely packaged in containers
  • waste containers are secure during transport
  • the method of unloading the waste is safe.

 

A first aid kit and first aid officer need to be readily available at all times.

A sufficient number of suitable fire extinguishers and hoses also need to

be available at strategic locations. The locations of fire extinguishers and

hoses need to be displayed in written and/or graphic format and conveyed

to all employees and relevant persons.

Below identifies the duties required to be met by licensed asbestos

removalists and by persons permitted to carry out limited removal work without

a licence. These requirements relate to the removal of asbestos that is fixed or

installed in a building, structure, ship or plant so that it is no longer fixed or installed

up to the point of containment.

 

 

The removal of asbestos that is not fixed or installed from a workplace must be

carried out safely and in accordance with the Regulations. If the removal constitutes

a minor contamination the person should implement the requirements for limited permitted removal outlined in.

 

             

                        MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

 

Exposure to asbestos can cause a range of debilitating medical conditions

affecting the respiratory system, including mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung

cancer. Many asbestos-related conditions are life threatening or associated with

a marked reduction in life expectancy.

 

Persons carrying out asbestos removal work are expected to have knowledge

of both how to perform asbestos removal safely and the asbestos removal

requirements of the Regulations. This compliance code provides practical

guidance that will assist duty holders meet regulatory obligations.

 

People with management or control of a workplace as well as employers and

self-employed persons have duties to control exposure to airborne asbestos

fibers in the workplace.

 

They must eliminate the exposure to airborne asbestos fibers so far as is

reasonably practicable. If exposure cannot be eliminated, they must reduce

the exposure so far as is reasonably practicable.

 

There are also duties to:

  • determine the exposure of employees if there is uncertainty
  • ensure copies of the results of any atmospheric monitoring are accessible
  • to any affected employees at the workplace and their HSRs.

 

The duties of both the person with management or control and the employer

extend to all people at the workplace (not just employees), including

independent contractors and their employees.

 

 Clothing contaminated with asbestos must not be removed from the workplace

except for disposal or laundering. When clothing is removed from the workplace

to be laundered, it should be placed in two 200 micron-thick plastic bags

(ie double bagged) and labelled to identify the presence of asbestos. Clothing

needs to be wet down before bagging to minimize the potential for airborne

dust to be generated when the bag is re-opened. The launderer must be told

about the potential for asbestos contamination on the clothing prior to arrival

at the laundry.

 

If the clothing is to be disposed of as waste it must be done as soon as

reasonably practicable.

 

The use of brooms, brushes (except where the brush is used for sealing),

high-pressure water jets, power tools or similar tools or instruments on

asbestos in workplaces is prohibited unless use is controlled to ensure

a person’s exposure does not exceed half the asbestos exposure standard.

To verify half the exposure standard is not exceeded, personal air monitoring

would be required.

 

Asbestos exposure standard:

0·1 f/ml of air measured in a person’s breathing zone and expressed as

a time weighted average fiber concentration of asbestos calculated over

an eight-hour working day and measured over a minimum period of four

hours in accordance with:

(a) the membrane filter method, or

(b) a method determined by WorkSafe.

 

Acceptable control measures include:

  • enclosing the tool or instrument
  • engineering controls such as extraction ventilation, or
  • a combination of these.

 

For example, a broom must not be used to collect debris associated with an

asbestos cement removal process as exposure may exceed half the exposure

standard. There are other collection methods that would reduce exposure to

airborne asbestos fibers as far as is reasonably practicable, such as using a

vacuum cleaner fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Use of

a HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner is an engineering control and ensures a person’s

exposure does not exceed half the exposure standard.

 

Respiratory protection must not be relied on to ensure half the exposure

standard is not exceeded. If a respirator is required to reduce the exposure to

below half the exposure standard, there is not adequate control and the tool or

instrument must not be used.

Note: This provision does not apply however to the removal of ACM within an

enclosed removal area.

 

Where a power tool (such as a HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner) is permitted to be

used, it must be appropriately decontaminated, disposed of or sealed in airtight

containers that are not used for any other purpose unless cleaned under

controlled conditions.

 

The use of compressed air and other gases on asbestos is prohibited:

  • in areas that are not enclosed to prevent the release of airborne

asbestos fibers

  • within six meters of an activity involving asbestos unless it can be

demonstrated the use of that air or gas does not result in airborne asbestos

fibers above half the exposure standard.

 

For example, using compressed air to clean/dislodge asbestos-contaminated

dust from a difficult-to-access area (that is not enclosed) is prohibited. Use

of compressed air within asbestos removal enclosures is not recommended.

 

The use of a pneumatic (compressed air powered) tool within six meters of

any activity involving asbestos is only allowed if it can be shown that airborne

asbestos fibers above half the exposure standard will not be produced.

 

Atmospheric monitoring in the area during the task is the only method to

demonstrate half the exposure standard will not be exceeded. If atmospheric

monitoring is done, all persons in the area must wear at least a P1 particulate

respirator in case asbestos fibers become airborne.

 

It should be noted that domestic premises are not workplaces. This means

that duties which relate to asbestos in workplaces – including to identify the

presence of asbestos, to record the identified asbestos in a register and

to subsequently implement controls based on the condition of this asbestos

– are not placed on the:

  • owner of the premises (the homeowner)
  • persons who manage the premises
  • persons leasing the premises, or
  • persons in the premises.

 

It is the duty of the employer or self-employed person who is conducting

the work in the domestic premises to identify the presence of asbestos.

 

Friable asbestos: Asbestos material which, when dry, can be crumbled,

pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure; or as a result of a

work process, may become such that it can be crumbled, pulverized or

reduced to powder by hand pressure.

 

Non-friable asbestos: When dry, non-friable asbestos cannot be

crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure.

 

Asbestos-contaminated dust is dust that has settled within the workplace and

is, or is assumed to be, contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos-contaminated

dust is not captured under the definition of friable asbestos and is therefore

considered separately. However, because there is a potential risk to health from

exposure to airborne asbestos fibers from asbestos-contaminated dust, its

removal is regulated under the Dangerous Goods Order.

 

Example of asbestos-contaminated dust

  • Dust surrounding an asbestos cement flue.
  • Dust on horizontal surfaces below an asbestos cement roof.
  • Dust in an electrical switchboard cupboard which has asbestos-backed panels.

 

The removal job starts as soon as respiratory protection is required to be

worn by persons who will remove (ie collect/clean-up) the asbestos.

 

The removal job is finished when respiratory protection is no longer required

to be worn as part of the removal task.

 

Example of non-friable ACM that is a minor contamination.

 

An employee finds an unfixed flue in a roof space and some asbestos cement

debris. Removal will take 20 minutes in total.

 

Example of non-friable ACM that exceeds a minor contamination

A pile of asbestos cement roof sheeting is found at the rear of a factory. The

roof sheeting was recently removed from a factory roof and removal will take

more than one hour. This removal exceeds a minor contamination and a class

A or B-licensed removalist is required.

 

 

A minor contamination of asbestos-contaminated dust is where:

(a) for the entire removal job, the asbestos-contaminated dust can be

removed within a period of time not exceeding 10 minutes in total and

the total cumulative time over which all asbestos-contaminated dust jobs

undertaken does not exceed one hour in any period of seven days. Where

these time limits have been or are likely to be exceeded the job is greater than a minor

contamination and a class A-licensed removalist is required.

 

(b) an independent and competent person determines that asbestos contaminated

dust constitutes a minor contamination (even when the

time limits in (a) are likely to be exceeded).

 

When making a decision, the independent and competent person must act in accordance with the

Regulations and consider the likelihood of airborne levels of asbestos

exceeding half the exposure standard during the removal process.

 

Asbestos-contaminated dust that is a minor contamination

 

An employer has two employees carrying out an asbestos-contaminated dust

clean-up for five minutes each as a ‘one-off’ task. The total (cumulative) time

spent by the employer is 10 minutes. Because this ‘one-off’ task can be

performed within a period of time not exceeding 10 minutes in total, the

removal is considered a minor contamination and the employer is not required

to have a licence.

 

Asbestos-contaminated dust that exceeds a minor contamination

 

A large warehouse has surfaces covered in asbestos-contaminated dust.

The dust has come from the asbestos cement roof which has since been

enclosed with a false ceiling. The total job would take more than 10

minutes.

 

(ii) An employer has two employees that service a number of workplaces. Part

of their work involves carrying out incidental asbestos-contaminated dust

clean-up for up to five minutes each time they perform a particular task.

The task does not require removal of fixed or installed ACM. The number

of these tasks performed each week can vary from none to 20. The total

(cumulative) time over which removal of asbestos-contaminated dust is

undertaken by the employer occasionally exceeds one hour in a period

of seven days (ie five minutes per task multiplied by 20 tasks equates

to 100 minutes), therefore the removal exceeds a minor contamination.

The Dangerous Goods Order requires that a class A-licensed removalist

carry sought after asbestos removal work.

 

 

An ‘independent person’ is a person who exercises impartiality and objectivity

in determining what constitutes a minor contamination. This person must not

be the person carrying out the removal work or the person or employee of the

person who commissioned the asbestos-removal work.

 

A ‘competent person’ is a person who is trained, qualified and has a working

knowledge in relation to asbestos matters, including:

  • how to conduct airborne asbestos monitoring of removal work
  • interpretation of National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)-endorsed

asbestos identification and monitoring reports

  • risks and consequences of asbestos exposure
  • likelihood of exposures in relation to specific work practices
  • safe asbestos removal methods
  • the requirements of Victorian law.

Asbestos-contaminated dust that is a minor contamination determined

by an independent and competent person.

 

Wipe-sampling has found asbestos to be present on surfaces at a workplace

– as reported in a NATA-endorsed report. An independent and competent

person, who has the ability to interpret NATA-endorsed asbestos identification

reports, has advised that although the clean-up will take more than 10 minutes,

based on their knowledge and experience, it will not result in airborne levels

exceeding half the exposure standard. The removal is considered to be a minor

contamination and the employer, who is not a licensed removalist, is permitted

to clean it up.

 

An example of a competent person is an occupational hygienist who has

practical experience in relation to these matters. Refer to the Australian

Institute of Occupational Hygienists website (aioh.org.au) for a list of suitable

occupational hygienists.

 

Planning requirements for the removal of asbestos can differ greatly depending

on many factors, including the:

  • specific asbestos removal task
  • type, location, quantity and condition of the ACM to be removed
  • presence of employees or other persons nearby.

 

A removalist must:

  • Obtain as much detail as possible on the location and condition of the

ACM to be removed and any adjacent ACM. If in doubt to whether an

item contains asbestos, it needs to be assumed that it does (or a sample

of it analysed).

  • Obtain a copy of the asbestos register.
  • Consult with the person who commissioned the work and advise them

when asbestos removal work will be taking place.

  • Ensure the proposed removal area and its surrounds will be unoccupied

for the duration of the removal.

  • Establish a location for personal decontamination.
  • Establish emergency plans for prompt evacuation (such as for fire) and

elevated airborne fiber detection.

  • Provide employees with the information, instruction, training or supervision

that is necessary to enable them to perform their work safely.

  • Establish the controls to be used and ensure these are conveyed to all

relevant persons.

  • Complete a safe work method statement if one is needed.
  • Identify other hazards related to the job, assess the risk and implement

controls. Such hazards include but are not limited to working at height,

working next to hot surfaces and electrical hazards.

 

Planning is essential as any misunderstanding could lead to the use of unsafe

removal methods and potentially endanger the health of asbestos removal

workers, people in adjoining properties and local residents.

 

The person who engaged the licensed removalist must inform all employers in

the immediate and adjacent areas before the asbestos removal work starts.

 

An employer at the workplace where removal work is to take place must inform

employees in the immediate and adjacent areas before the removal work

Asbestos removal work in relation to domestic premises.

 

Where asbestos removal work is to take place at a domestic premises by a

licensed removalist, it is the licensed removalist’s duty to inform all employers

in the immediate and adjacent areas of the proposed removal work.

 

An immediate and adjacent area is an area where the removal work will take

place, adjoin or directly face the asbestos removal site. This may include the

building next door. Informing employers in these areas enables them to inform

their employees and make appropriate arrangements to prevent people from

approaching these areas if necessary.

 

Where the removal work is to be performed at domestic premises, an asbestos

register will not be available. At such premises there is a duty on the employer

or self-employed person performing the demolition or refurbishment to

determine whether asbestos is fixed or installed on the premises. Where a

homeowner has engaged a removalist to remove some asbestos cement

sheeting, the duty is the removalists. Where a company has bought the

house and is to demolish them in preparation for townhouses, the duty lies

with the company.

 

What is an asbestos register and what must be in it?

 

An asbestos register contains information about the asbestos that has been

identified in the workplace. A person who manages or controls a workplace

where asbestos is present must have an asbestos register. In addition,

an employer in the workplace who has management or control over any

structures or plant that contain asbestos must also have an asbestos register.

There is no mandatory format that the register must follow. However, it must

include the following:

  • information required as part of the identification of asbestos, including:

– the location of the asbestos

– the likely source of unfixed or uninstalled asbestos

– the type of ACM

– whether the asbestos is friable or non-friable

– the condition of the ACM

– whether the ACM is likely to be damaged or disturbed

  • details of all inaccessible areas likely to contain asbestos
  • detailed information about activities carried out in the workplace

that are likely to disturb the asbestos

  • dates when the identification and risk assessment were made.

 

An employer or self-employed person must determine whether the asbestos

removal work falls within the meaning of high-risk construction work as defined

by the Regulations. If it does, a safe work method statement is required. For

licensed removal work the preparation of a control plan is taken to be the

equivalent of a safe work method statement, therefore a safe work method

statement is not required in relation to asbestos removal. However, if there are

activities other than asbestos removal that fall within the meaning of high-risk

construction work, a safe work method statement addressing those other

activities must be completed. A reference in the safe work method statement

to the asbestos control plan would be useful.

 

An employer or self-employed person performing asbestos removal work must

ensure this work is performed in a manner that, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibers
  • prevents the contamination of areas adjacent to the asbestos removal area.

 

This requires planning to ensure methods of removal are used that minimize

the generation of airborne asbestos fibers whether or not the removal is to be

performed within an enclosure.

Such methods need to include:

  • hand tools in preference to power tools
  • careful unfixing of ACM
  • wet methods such as a fine water mist spray and damp rags wherever practicable.
  • A fine mist water spray may need to be

applied at regular intervals during the day (particularly in warm weather) to

ensure dust remains suppressed. High pressure water must not be used

because this would generate airborne asbestos fibers, spread the asbestos

beyond the work area and make clean-up more difficult.

  • drop sheets to collect asbestos-containing debris.

Adjacent areas where there is potential (or any uncertainty about the potential)

for contamination must be well isolated to prevent access by persons not

directly associated with the asbestos removal work. In a multi-story building

this may mean isolating the entire floor and floors directly above and below

where asbestos removal is to take place.

 

All persons performing asbestos removal work must receive information,

instruction and training to enable them to perform the work safely and

without risk to health. This includes training about:

  • the nature of the hazard

– how asbestos can affect a person’s health

– the added dangers of smoking

  •  the risk from exposure to airborne asbestos fibers

– appropriate controls

– what methods and equipment will do the job properly

– how to choose, use and look after personal protective equipment

– decontamination of persons, equipment and the work area

– waste disposal

– emergency procedures

  • maintenance of controls
  • what the law requires.

 

A record of the training for each person performing the asbestos removal

work must be readily available at the removal site. This is the responsibility

of the licensed removalist. It may not be adequate to rely on individual

employees to bring their training records to each job.

 

 

                                                  The control plan

A control plan is a document which identifies the specific control measures a

licence holder will use to ensure employees and other people are not at risk

when removal work is being conducted. It is similar to a job safety analysis

(JSA) but is focused on the specific control measures necessary to reduce

risk from exposure to asbestos.

 

The licensed asbestos removalist must develop a site-specific control plan

before commencing any asbestos removal work. When drafting the procedure,

the items listed in Appendix Q need to be considered. The removalist must also

take into account any asbestos register relevant to the asbestos to be removed

and the area to be worked on.

  •  provide a copy of the control plan to the person who commissioned the

asbestos removal work (this is the person who engaged the removalist

to perform the asbestos removal work)

  • ensure a copy of the control plan is readily accessible for the duration of the

asbestos removal work. It would be regarded accessible if it was available

on request to:

– employees (including HSRs) at the workplace

– an employer at the workplace

– any person engaged to do work at the workplace

– a WorkSafe inspector

 

The attachment of additional documentation to the control plan (such as

specifications or drawings) relevant to the particular removal job would

assist the reader’s understanding of the control plan.

The asbestos removal control plan needs to be finalized in consultation with:

  • persons who will perform the removal work
  • the person who engaged the removalist
  • any other relevant parties such as an occupational hygienist who has

knowledge and experience in asbestos removal.

 

Where high-risk construction work is to take place the employer must complete

a safe work method statement before the work commences and ensure the

work is performed in accordance with that statement. Therefore, where it has

been determined that construction work is to take place and asbestos removal

will also be occurring as part of that construction work, a safe work method

statement is required.

 

Where a safe work method statement is required under the construction part

of the Regulations, the preparation of a control plan for licensed removal work

is taken to be the equivalent of a safe work method statement. Therefore the

safe work method statement is not required in relation to asbestos removal.

 

However, if there are activities other than asbestos removal that fall within

the meaning of high-risk construction work, a safe work method statement

addressing those other activities must be completed. For example, where an

asbestos cement roof is to be removed, a control plan must be completed (in

relation to the asbestos removal work) and a safe work method statement must

be completed in relation to the risk of persons falling more than two meters.

 

Includes the requirements of a control plan as well

as additional items that would assist in preparing for an asbestos removal job.

A non-licensed person performing removal permitted under the Regulations

could also use this checklist or develop and implement a control plan to assist

in controlling risks.

                                    

                                             Signs and barricades

The licensed removalist must use signs and barricades to clearly indicate the

area where the removal work is being performed. These signs must be placed to

inform all people nearby that asbestos removal work is taking place in that area.

Signs need to be weatherproof, lightweight and securely situated so that they

remain in prominent locations (such as entry points to the asbestos work area).

 

Barricades can take various forms, from tape to solid hoarding. Tape may be

appropriate for non-friable asbestos removal jobs of short duration. The type of

barricading needs to reflect the level of risk. For friable asbestos removal jobs,

solid barricades need to be used.

 

The location of barricades will depend on the physical environment and the

level of risk. A risk assessment needs to be conducted to determine the

appropriate placement of barricades. A non-friable asbestos cement removal

job where the asbestos cement is in good condition may use a wall located

three meters from the removal area as the barrier. A friable sprayed asbestos

removal job being performed dry due to electrical restrictions may require

a barricade 15 meters from the removal area.

 

In determining the distance between barriers and the asbestos removal area,

the risk assessment needs to take account of:

  •  whether the ACM is friable or non-friable
  •  activity around the asbestos removal area (eg other workers, visitors,

neighbors, the public) – ie other people’s exposure

  • the methods of ACM removal
  • any existing barriers (walls, doors)
  • the quantity of ACM to be removed
  • the type of barrier used (eg hoarding or tape).

 

                                           The decontamination unit

 

Decontamination units are generally required for all friable asbestos removal

jobs other than ‘wrap and cut’, ‘glove bag’ and gasket removals. Non-friable

asbestos removal jobs of a certain size (eg where the ACM to be removed

is greater than that contained in the cladding of an average size house) may

also require the use of decontamination units. A risk assessment needs to

be conducted to determine this while also taking into account the:

  •  condition of the ACM
  •  difficulty in performing the removal
  •  level of airborne dust likely to be generated
  •  available cleaning/washing facilities at the site
  •  duration of the task.

Where men and women are required to use the same decontamination unit,

a system of work needs be implemented to enable them to access the unit.

 

In many instances, the only satisfactory way of providing appropriate changing

facilities is to provide a mobile or specially constructed on-site decontamination.

 

This decontamination unit needs be immediately adjacent to and directly

connected with the enclosed asbestos work area. It needs to be located

as far away as practicable from amenities and lunch rooms.

 

The decontamination unit needs to be divided into three distinct areas:

  •  dirty decontamination area
  • clean decontamination area
  • clean changing area.

All of these areas need be large enough to enable employees to adequately

decontaminate themselves.

 

These areas need to be separated by suitable airlocks or buffer zones. Normally

these airlocks have spring-loaded doors or two or more overlapping sheets of

plastic sheet that are positioned to define the boundary between each segment

of the decontamination unit while allowing access and airflow towards the

asbestos work area. To ensure there is sufficient airflow through the

decontamination unit, doors (if used) need to have large openings with a hinged

flap operating as a one-way valve.

 

The employer must provide towels and soap to allow employees to

appropriately decontaminate themselves. The employer needs to assess each

removal job to determine the number of decontamination units required. As a

guide, one decontamination unit needs to be provided for every six employees

in the removal area.

 

The dirty decontamination area needs to include:

  • a suitable rack for air-lines to be stored on at the entrance of the area
  •  equipment for vacuum cleaning or hosing down (by use of a fine mist)

of contaminated clothing and footwear

  •  storage for contaminated clothing and footwear
  • labelled waste bags/bins for disposing of protective clothing
  • shower area with an adequate supply of hot and cold water and toiletries.

 

                                                       AIRFLOW

Work Safe Victoria Compliance code / Removing asbestos in workplaces 51

The clean decontamination area needs to include:

  •  storage for individual respirators in containers or lockers
  •  airflow towards the dirty decontamination area
  • shower area with an adequate supply of hot and cold water and toiletries.

The clean changing area needs to include:

  •  storage for clean clothing
  • separate storage for clean and dirty towels
  • airflow towards the clean decontamination area.

All water from the decontamination facility needs to pass through a particulate

filter or other trap before it passes into sewer mains. The filter or trap needs

to be capable of capturing particles down to five micron.

 

Workers must not smoke, eat or drink in any part of the decontamination unit.

                           

                           Use of remote decontamination units

 

Remote decontamination units are decontamination units not located next to

the asbestos removal area. They can only be used if a decontamination unit

cannot be located immediately adjacent to the asbestos removal area.

 

When a remote decontamination unit is to be used, the asbestos

removalist would need to implement additional procedures to minimize

asbestos contamination.

 

This may include wearing double coveralls, partial

decontamination at the removal site and methods for

the connection and disconnection of air-line respirators.

 

The route of access from the asbestos removal area to the decontamination

unit needs to be suitably signposted and barricaded to restrict public access.

 

Para occupational air monitoring must be conducted in the immediate vicinity

of this access route and at other suitable locations outside the asbestos

removal area.

 

An isolated changing area needs to be attached to the asbestos removal area.

Before employees enter this changing area, all obvious signs of asbestos dust

need to be removed from their protective clothing using an asbestos vacuum

cleaner. The isolated changing area is then used to discard outer garments,

including coveralls and overshoes before employees can put on fresh

outer/protective clothing for the journey to the decontamination unit.

 

Respiratory protection needs to be worn until the appropriate phase of

the decontamination procedure within the remote decontamination unit.

 

Change into clean work clothes and put on clean protective

clothing. Store any removed clothing in a dust-proof container. Pass through the

airlock into the clean decontamination area.

 

Clean decontamination area: Put on respirator. Check that it is working

properly and there is a good facial seal (ie fit check). Move to the dirty

decontamination area.

 

Dirty decontamination area: Put on any additional protective equipment that

has been stored in the dirty decontamination area such as footwear. Connect

to the air supply if required. Move from the decontamination unit to the

asbestos work area.

 

                           Leaving the asbestos removal area

 

Use an asbestos vacuum cleaner to remove any

obvious signs of asbestos dust from protective clothing. Remove footwear and

leave shoes/boots inside the asbestos removal area next to the

decontamination unit (footwear needs to be stored upside down to minimize

further contamination). Proceed into the dirty decontamination area.

 

Dirty decontamination area: If shoes/boots have not already been removed,

remove them and store upside down within the dirty decontamination area.

Disconnect air-line respirator if being used. Shower while wearing protective

clothing and respirator. Leaving the respirator on, remove protective clothing

and place in labelled waste bags. Remove wet underclothing, such as t-shirts

or shorts, while showering and place in the storage unit provided within

the dirty decontamination area. Pass through the airlock into the clean

decontamination area.

 

Clean decontamination area: Shower and remove respirator. Thoroughly wash

hands, fingernails, face, head and respirator. Store respirator in a suitable

container within the clean decontamination area. Move to the clean

change area.

 

Clean change area: Change into clean clothing.

 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) including footwear should not be shared.

This equipment needs to be thoroughly cleaned as there is a risk of contracting

respiratory problems and tinea in such circumstances.

 

Asbestos waste containment and disposal

Asbestos waste drums or bins

 

All drums or bins used for the storage and disposal of asbestos waste need

to be in good condition with lids and rims in good working order and free

of hazardous residue.

 

The drums or bins need to be lined with plastic (minimum 200 micron

thickness) and labels warning of the asbestos waste must be placed on

the exterior of each drum or bin.

 

If the drum or bin is to be re-used, the asbestos waste must be packed and

sealed so that when the drum or bin is emptied there is no residual asbestos

contamination. The drum or bin needs to be inspected after use to ensure there

is no asbestos residue.

 

Where possible, the drums or bins need to be placed in the asbestos work area

before work on ACM begins. Controlled wetting of the waste during drum or bin

filling needs to be carried out to reduce asbestos dust emissions. The drums

or bins need to have their rims sealed and their outer surfaces wet-wiped and

inspected before they are removed from the asbestos work area.

 

 

If it is not possible to locate the drums or bins inside the asbestos work

area, they need to be located as close to the work area as possible. Routes for

moving the waste from the asbestos work area to the waste drums or bins need

to be designated prior to the commencement of each task. A competent person

needs to decide the best means of moving the waste through the building.

In occupied buildings, all movement of bags from the work area to the waste

drums or bins needs to be performed outside of normal working hours.

 

Drums or bins used to store asbestos waste must be stored in a secure location

when they are not in use. They should not be moved manually once they have

been filled. Trolleys or drum lifters need to be used.

Asbestos waste skips, vehicle trays and similar containers
If it is not feasible to use asbestos waste bags, drums or bins because of

the volume or size of the asbestos waste, a waste skip, vehicle tray or similar

container may be used (needs to be in good condition).

 

The ACM needs to be sealed in double-lined, heavy-duty plastic sheeting or

double bagged before it is placed in the skip. However, non-friable asbestos

waste may be placed directly into a skip or vehicle tray that has been

double-lined with heavy-duty plastic sheeting (200 micron minimum thickness)

provided it is kept damp to minimize the generation of airborne asbestos fibers.

Consideration needs to be given to how the skip will be emptied at the waste

disposal site to minimize the risk of the plastic lining the skip tearing. In

addition, the EPA Victoria-licensed asbestos waste disposal site needs to be

contacted to establish any specific packaging requirements for that site.

 

Once the skip is full, its contents need to be completely sealed with the

plastic sheeting.

 

If asbestos waste cannot be disposed of immediately, the skip may be used for

storing the asbestos waste on site over a period of time, but only if its contents

are secured (eg using a lockable lid or locating the skip in a secure area) to

prevent unauthorized access. Overlaying and taping down plastic in a skip is

not adequate. If the waste cannot be secured on site, it must not be left on site.

Laundering of contaminated clothing.

 

Use of non-disposable coveralls for asbestos removal work is not preferred

(refer to ‘Personal protective equipment’ on page 25). However, any employer

or self-employed person removing asbestos using non-disposable coveralls

and any other personal protective clothing must provide for its laundering

if the clothing is likely to be contaminated with asbestos and it is not

contained and disposed of as asbestos waste.

 

Visible dust on personal protective clothing is a strong indication of asbestos

contamination. However, absence of visible dust does not mean there is

no contamination.

 

Contaminated clothing needs to be removed damp and immediately be made

thoroughly wet, then placed in impermeable containers with labels to identify

that the container holds asbestos-contaminated clothing. Where the containers

used are bags, they must be double bagged. The containers need to then be

provided to an appropriate laundering facility, which has been notified in

advance of the presence of asbestos contamination on the clothing.

 

The laundering facility needs be constructed of smooth surfaces that are able

to be lined with polythene sheeting. Procedures need to be established for

cleaning up spills. Flooding of neighboring areas needs to be prevented.

Laundering must be carried out in a manner that eliminates, so far as is

reasonably practicable, the release of airborne asbestos fibers. This may

be achieved by placing the laundering room under negative pressure.

 

Conventional washing machines may be used provided they are not used for

other clothing. The clothing to be laundered should not be allowed to dry out

before it is washed. Bags of asbestos-contaminated clothing need be opened

in the washing machine while being further saturated with water to minimize

airborne dust. As a minimum, P1 respiratory protection needs to be worn while

unloading clothes into the washing machine.

 

The containers/bags need to be disposed of as asbestos waste. Waste water

needs to be filtered and the filtering medium disposed of as asbestos waste.

 

Random air monitoring needs to be carried out to confirm employees are not

being exposed to asbestos.

 

If possible, the removal of asbestos from hot metal or machinery needs to be

scheduled and planned around shutdowns with sufficient time allowed for the

metal/machinery to cool.

 

Machinery needs to be cool before removal is attempted. The removal of friable

ACM from hot metal presents one of the worst conditions for removal because

airborne asbestos fibers can readily spread on convection currents in the air

and the potential for burns is high. In addition, the use of fine water sprays

may not be possible as steam may be created that would make the removal

task more difficult. Hot metal removal can only be performed in emergency

situations. There may be other circumstances under which such removal work

may take place. However, a person competent in heat stress issues needs to

be consulted when making this decision.

 

The person who has management and control of the workplace needs to make

every attempt to arrange for the removal work to be done during periods when

surfaces are not hot.

 

In the limited circumstances where the dry removal of ACM from hot surfaces is

the only option (eg emergency situations), particular care needs to be taken in

the selection of dust extraction equipment to cope with the convection currents

involved. The selection of appropriate PPE also becomes much more important.

 

Heat stress must be considered when preparing the asbestos removal control

plan, particularly in the selection of PPE and the design of the work program

(eg sufficient rest breaks and the provision of cool drinking water).

Additional requirements for licensed

asbestos removal

 

 

General methods for the removal of friable ACM

 

Friable asbestos removal work generally involves establishing an enclosure with

a negative pressure exhaust unit and full decontamination unit attached to the

enclosure. There are exceptions generally relating to small-scale removal such

as glove bag removals, mini-enclosure removals and wrap and cut removals.

 

The methods used to remove ACM must prevent the release of asbestos fibres

into the atmosphere both during and after the removal operation.

 

The appropriate removal method will therefore depend on the nature,

condition, quantity and location of the ACM and any other health or safety

hazards present.

 

Friable ACM needs to be removed using wet methods within an enclosed area

so far as is reasonably practicable. Methods for enclosing large and small-scale

removal work are described from paragraph 314. In addition:

  •  all ventilation and air conditioning networks servicing the asbestos removal

area need to be closed down for the duration of the asbestos removal work

and all vents thoroughly sealed to prevent the entry of airborne asbestos

fibers into the duct network

  •  on completion and after final cleaning of the asbestos work area, all

mechanical ventilation filters for recirculated air need to be replaced prior

to start-up

  •  care needs to be taken to ensure that airborne asbestos fibres cannot

escape at points where pipes and conduits pass out of the asbestos work

area (greater attention to sealing and testing is required at these points,

particularly if service riser shafts pass through the asbestos removal area).

 

The methods and equipment described below are commonly used for the

removal of sprayed asbestos thermal and acoustic insulation from buildings

and structures and the removal of ACM from plant and equipment, including

steam pipes, boilers and other industrial plant.

 

  Large-scale Removal Work Enclosures

 

A licence holder must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the area

where the asbestos removal work is performed is enclosed so as to prevent

the release of airborne asbestos fibers (this area is sometimes referred to as

the ‘bubble’).

 

 

In most cases of friable asbestos removal work it will be practicable to enclose

the removal area. In nearly all cases it will be practicable to establish enclosed

asbestos removal work areas under ‘negative pressure’ for any large-scale

removal of friable ACM.

 

The design and installation of the enclosure needs to take account of:

  • the methods used to contain the asbestos work area
  • the provision and locations of decontamination/changing facilities and

negative pressure exhaust units

  • the precautions that must be implemented to prevent the spread of asbestos

contamination outside the asbestos removal area

  • air quality within the enclosure (eg there must always be sufficient oxygen

and machinery emitting any fumes or potentially dangerous gases needs

to be placed outside the enclosure well away from any air intake for the

enclosure)

  • the temperature within the enclosure (especially to avoid heat stress)
  • any other hazards in the enclosure (these must be identified and the risks

controlled before any asbestos removal work commences).

 

Work methods may also need to be adapted for the work environment within

the enclosure. For example, rest breaks need to be based on a risk assessment

taking into account factors such as the weather and heating/cooling

 

Heavy-duty plastic sheeting (200 micron minimum thickness) needs to

be used for the enclosure. Re-milled plastic sheeting should not be used.

 

Every location where the asbestos work area connects either to the outside

environment or to the rest of the building (eg windows, ducts, wall cavities,

conduits and lift entrances) needs to be enclosed so that an airtight seal

is maintained for the duration of the asbestos removal work.

 

The plastic sheeting needs to enclose all the walls, windows and doors.

Wooden cleats may be able to be used to anchor the plastic sheeting to walls.

 

Viewing panels need to be placed in appropriate locations so that the work

area can be seen from outside the enclosure.

 

Adequate lighting needs to be provided within the enclosure, either:

  •  naturally, using clear plastic or perspex panels in the enclosure walls, or
  • artificially, preferably from outside the enclosure using clear plastic or

perspex panels (lights within an enclosure can increase the temperature

within the enclosure).

 

All non-movable items (eg fixtures and fittings) need to be covered with plastic

sheeting and all the joints sealed.

 

All movable items need to be removed from the asbestos removal area. If this

is not possible, they need to be moved to a convenient location and covered

with two layers of plastic sheeting with a minimum overlap of 300mm between

the layers. Both layers need to be double taped.

 

Airlocks need to be provided at the entry points to the change area. They

need to be constructed using double sets of overlapping plastic with suitable

provisions for ensuring a seal.

 

Specific requirements for removal of friable ACM

 

All floors need to be protected with at least one layer of woven plastic.

This is important for penetration to be prevented. The joints need to be

lapped 300mm and sealed with double-sided tape and duct tape.

 

If the asbestos removal area is next to areas occupied by unprotected persons,

priority needs to be given to:

  •  performing the removal work during periods when these areas are

unoccupied, or

  •  greater isolation of the removal area (preferable).

 

Consideration needs to be given to the use of hoarding to form a barrier

between the asbestos removal area and the adjoining occupied areas.

A plastic-lined barrier needs to be erected within this hoarding and a buffer

area needs to be reserved between the hoarding and occupied areas.

 

Any platforms and fixed scaffolding required for the safe removal of the

ACM needs to be erected during the early stages of the work. Ideally these

structures need to be erected on the outside of the enclosed area. However,

where it is necessary to construct platforms or fixed scaffolding within the

enclosed area, decontamination and visual inspection of these structures will

be necessary at the end of the removal work.

 

During the masking up and later removal of the screening, all persons involved

need to wear appropriate PPE. This needs to include coveralls and as a

minimum, a half-face respirator with a P1 filter.

 

All tools and equipment used for removal work, including asbestos vacuum

cleaners, need to remain within the asbestos work area until the completion of

the removal work. When this equipment is removed it must be decontaminated

as described in ‘Decontamination facilities and methods’ on page 33.

 

All the plastic and tape used for the enclosure must be disposed of as asbestos

waste. Any temporary structures used within the enclosure must also be

disposed of as asbestos waste if they cannot be decontaminated and inspected

by a competent person to confirm they are free of any visible asbestos.

Testing the effectiveness of the enclosure

 

When the asbestos removalist is satisfied that the enclosure is complete,

a competent independent person needs to carry out a visual inspection and

smoke test the enclosure prior to the commencement of the asbestos removal

work. While smoke is generated within the enclosure, a person outside the

enclosure needs to check for leaks. The competent person needs to document

the result of the smoke test and provide a copy to the licensed removalist.

 

Negative pressure exhaust units should not be used while the smoke test is

being conducted. Only smoke-generating devices incorporating non-oil-based,

non-toxic smoke fluids can be used. Flares should not be used. Smoke (fire)

detection devices in the immediate vicinity of the work area need to be isolated

for the duration of the smoke test. Asbestos removal work should not proceed

if any leaks or other deficiencies in the enclosure are found during the testing.

Leaks or deficiencies must be rectified (an expandable foam sealant, tape or

equivalent may be used) and another smoke test performed until no leaks or

deficiencies are identified.

 

The effectiveness of the enclosure needs to be regularly monitored while

asbestos removal work is underway (eg visual examination, air-monitoring

results and negative pressure readings).

 

If visual examinations of the enclosure and surrounding area indicate that

asbestos dust might be escaping from the enclosure, asbestos removal work

needs to be stopped until any defects have been rectified. Refer to page 65

for para occupational air monitoring levels at which specific action is required

to be taken.

 

Negative pressure exhaust units (negative air units)

 

To prevent the escape of airborne asbestos fibers from an enclosed asbestos

work area, an exhaust extraction fan needs to be installed so as to create

a ‘negative’ air pressure of approximately 12 Pa (water gauge) within the

enclosed asbestos work area. This may require the use of more than one

negative pressure exhaust unit.

 

Use of these units must include regular checks/inspections, and a log of these

checks/inspections needs to be maintained. The units need to incorporate

warning devices for filter integrity/overload and power failure. They need

to include a manometer or magnohelic gauge and an audible and visual

alarm system.

 

Ideally, the negative pressure exhaust unit needs to be positioned

opposite the decontamination unit to enable laminar (smooth) air flow. In this

arrangement, the air entering the asbestos work area passes through the

decontamination unit or point of entry while the air extracted by this system

passes through a HEPA filter to remove any asbestos dust before it is, where

reasonably practicable, discharged to the outside atmosphere. If this is not

possible, consideration needs to be given to how to set up the enclosure,

decontamination unit and negative pressure exhaust unit to enable optimum

smooth flow of air through the enclosure so as to minimize dead air pockets.

Discharge of the air from the enclosure needs to be at a location away from

other working areas, air conditioning inlets or breathing air compressors.

 

The units need to be operated continuously (24 hours a day) until all asbestos

removal and decontamination tasks within the enclosure have been completed

(that is, from when the removal commences to when clearance is given to

dismantle the enclosure). If the units stop during removal work, the licensed

removalist must immediately cease all removal work until the problem is

rectified and the required number of units are in operation. This delay needs

to be as small as possible to minimize the risk of airborne asbestos fibers

escaping the enclosure. Consideration needs to be given to backup negative

pressure exhaust units and a generator.

 

The HEPA filter must comply with AS 4260:1997 High efficiency particulate air

(HEPA) filters – Classification, construction and performance or its equivalent.

A coarse pre-filter needs to be installed on the air intake side of the negative

air unit to prolong the useful life of the HEPA filter. These pre-filters may need

to be changed once per work shift or more frequently depending on dust loads.

Used pre-filters must be disposed of as asbestos waste.

 

Procedures need to be established for changing HEPA filters so that areas

outside the enclosure are not contaminated.

 

A satisfactory method for assessing the integrity of the HEPA filter and seal

fittings is regular inspection in conjunction with a static pressure alarm to

indicate any failure in the system.

 

Maintenance work on these units must only be performed after they have

been thoroughly decontaminated, or the work may be carried out under

controlled conditions, such as in an asbestos removal enclosure while

wearing appropriate PPE.

 

               Specific requirements for removal of friable ACM

 

Sprayed asbestos insulation need to be wet thoroughly using a fine water

spray. Aim to achieve maximum saturation with minimum run-off to minimize any subsequent

clean-up and slip hazards.

 

Wetting, scraping and vacuuming methods need to be used wherever

reasonably practicable. Where the ACM is covered with cloth, metal cladding

or wire reinforcing, it needs to be wet thoroughly during the removal process.

 

Once a competent person has determined the removal area is clean, the

licensed removalist needs to, wherever reasonably practicable, spray clean

surfaces within the removal area with tinted PVA or a similar acrylic emulsion

using airless spraying equipment. This includes any layer of plastic forming

the inner surface of the enclosure to ensure any loose asbestos fibers on

the plastic are firmly adhered to prior to its dismantling.

 

After the PVA has dried and sufficient time has elapsed for it to dissipate,

para occupational air (clearance) monitoring, where required, needs to take

place. The plastic enclosure must not be dismantled until a satisfactory visual

inspection and monitoring has taken place.

Dismantling an asbestos removal enclosure

 

The licensed removalist may only dismantle a structure used to enclose

an asbestos removal area once all of the following are done:

  • asbestos removal work has been completed
  • visual inspection by an independent person is satisfactory
  • para occupational air monitoring, where required, is found to be less than

0.01 fibers/ml.

 

The plastic that formed the enclosure must be disposed of as asbestos

waste, along with any other contaminated material that assisted in forming the

enclosure. In some cases, structures used in building the enclosure (other than

the plastic that formed the enclosure) may be wrapped and sealed in plastic

and not opened until in a similar controlled environment, such as another

asbestos removal enclosure (eg collapsible rods used to form the enclosure

frame).

 

The area from which the enclosure was dismantled must be thoroughly

cleaned and inspected. This needs to be followed by further para occupational

monitoring demonstrating the levels are below 0.01 fibers/ml.

 

Ropes, warning signs and protective plastic isolating public areas should

not be removed until:

  •  the enclosure has been dismantled and removed as asbestos waste
  •  satisfactory para occupational air-monitoring results have been achieved
  • the removal area and its surrounds have been visually inspected by

an independent person and found to be satisfactory for re-occupation.

 

 

The licensed removalist needs to ensure an employee is stationed outside

the asbestos work area for the duration of the asbestos removal work to:

  •  liaise with the project supervisor
  •  check and maintain negative air units, compressor units, decontamination

units and hot water service

  • ensure security of the area is maintained
  • communicate with personnel inside the work enclosure
  • instigate emergency or evacuation procedures if necessary.

 

                                Small-scale removal work

 

   Mini-enclosures

 

Mini-enclosures are suitable for asbestos removal work in areas with restricted

access, such as ceiling spaces and for emergency asbestos removals.

 

The mini-enclosure has to be large enough to allow movement inside the

enclosure and contain all the equipment needed for the asbestos removal work.

 

Machinery that emits exhaust fumes should not be placed in a mini-enclosure.

 

The frame of a mini-enclosure can be made from a variety of materials, but has

to be strong enough to support the plastic sheeting that forms the enclosure.

 

Heavy-duty plastic sheeting (200 micron minimum thickness) needs to be used

for making the enclosure. Recycled plastic (including re-milled plastic) should

not be used.

 

The tape used to connect the plastic to the frame needs to be strong enough

to securely hold the plastic to the frame. A smoke test of the enclosure must

be done to check the sealing of the plastic sheeting. For mini-enclosures,

a smoke tube may be used to perform this task.

 

A slit will have to be made in the plastic sheeting to allow entry. This slit

can then be taped from inside the enclosure.

 

The hazards and work procedures that need to be considered for large

enclosures also need to be taken into account for mini-enclosures.

 

Employees leaving a mini-enclosure need to follow personal decontamination

procedures based on a combination of the procedures described in

 

Glove bags are single-use bags constructed from transparent, heavy-duty

polyethylene with built-in arms and access ports. Generally, these glove bags

are approximately one meter wide and 1.5 meters deep.

 

Glove bags are designed to isolate small removal jobs from the general working

environment. They provide a flexible, easily installed and quickly dismantled

temporary enclosure for small asbestos removal jobs.

 

The glove bag removal method is especially suited to the removal of asbestos

lagging from individual valves, joints and piping.

 

A major advantage of glove bags is that they contain all the waste

and contamination within them, eliminating the need for extensive PPE

and decontamination.

 

The limitation of glove bags is the volume of waste material they are able to

contain. Care needs to be exercised to prevent overfilling the bag with water or

waste. In addition, they should not be used on hot pipe work due to difficulties

in sealing the glove bag to the pipe or maintaining the seal.

 

A P1 filtered respirator and disposable coveralls need to be worn as a minimum

while using glove bags in case a bag ruptures or leaks.

Glove bags need to be used as follows:
Cutting and removal tools that will be used in the removal work need to be

placed into the glove bag at the start of the job. When the removal is complete,

tools used need to be disposed of as asbestos waste or sealed for re-use in

future removal jobs.

 

The glove bag needs to completely cover the pipe or object on which

the asbestos removal work is to be performed. The lagging on either side

of the bag must be sound enough to support the weight of the bag and

its wet contents.

 

Cut the sides of the glove bag to fit the size of the pipe from which asbestos

is to be removed. Attach the glove bag to the pipe by folding the open edges

together and securely sealing them with duct tape or an equivalent. Seal all

openings in the glove bag with the tape. The bottom and side seams of the

glove bag also need to be sealed with tape to prevent any leakage if there

is a defect in a seam.

 

Thoroughly saturate the ACM with a wetting agent and then remove it from

the pipe, beam or other surface. The wetting agent needs to be applied with

an airless sprayer through a pre-cut port, as provided in most glove bags, or

through a small hole cut in the bag. ACM that has fallen into the bag needs

to be thoroughly saturated. The choice of tool to remove the ACM depends

on the nature of the material to be removed. ACM is generally covered with

painted canvas and/or wire mesh. Any canvas needs to be cut and peeled

away from the ACM underneath. If this ACM is dry, it needs to be re-sprayed

with the wetting agent before it is removed.

 

Thoroughly clean the pipe or surface from which the asbestos has been

removed with a wire brush or similar tool and wet-wipe it until no traces of the

ACM can be seen. Wash down the upper section of the bag to remove any

adhering ACM.

 

Seal any edges of ACM that have been exposed by the removal or by any

maintenance activity to ensure these edges do not release airborne asbestos

fibers after the glove bag is removed.

 

Once the ACM has been removed and sealed, insert a vacuum hose from an

asbestos vacuum cleaner into the glove bag through the access port to remove

any air in the bag that might contain airborne asbestos fibers. Once the bag has

been evacuated, squeeze it tightly (as close to the top as possible) and twist

and seal it with tape, keeping the ACM safely in the bottom of the bag.

 

Remove the vacuum line from the bag and then remove the glove bag from

the workplace for disposal as asbestos waste.

 

 

                                 Wrap and cut removal work

 

This method of removal produces the lowest levels of airborne asbestos fibers

and is most appropriate for redundant plant and equipment.

 

The plant or equipment to be removed needs to be vacuumed with a

HEPA-fitted vacuum cleaner and/or wiped with damp rags (which need to

be disposed of as asbestos waste). The plant or equipment then needs to be

double wrapped with 200 micron thick plastic and taped so that the ACM is

totally sealed within the plastic.

 

The wrapped plant or equipment can then be cut from the rest of the plant

and equipment using mechanical shears or oxy-cutting tools.

Only exposed metal can be cut and care needs to be taken to ensure the plastic wrapping is not punctured or melted.

The cut section can then be removed as asbestos waste.

 

If lagging has to be removed to allow a pipe to be cut, the glove bag removal

method may be used to expose the metal at the point to be cut and for

a sufficient length on either side. The pipe then needs to be cut at the center of the exposed section.

 

A P1 filtered respirator and disposable coveralls need to be worn as a minimum

while doing wrap and cut removal work. However, if the lagging is in very poor

condition such that significant airborne asbestos fibers may be generated,

a higher level of respiratory protection may be required or the method of

removal reconsidered.

 

Para occupational (or control) air monitoring involves taking samples of air from

fixed locations, which are usually immediately outside the area where asbestos

removal is taking place. This area is usually enclosed by plastic and is

sometimes referred to as the ‘bubble’.

 

The purpose of this monitoring is to identify whether airborne asbestos fibers

are present outside the removal enclosure and to ensure that control measures

designed to prevent asbestos escaping from the enclosure are working.

 

The person who commissioned the removal work must ensure that

para occupational monitoring is done when the asbestos removal work

will be done:

  • indoors, or
  • outdoors and could pose a risk to other persons (eg employees working

nearby who cannot be isolated from the area during the removal).

Para occupational air monitoring is not required when glove bag asbestos

removal is undertaken.

 

The person who commissioned the removal work (not the licence holder) must

arrange for para occupational air monitoring to be done before the removal work

commences and must ensure monitoring lasts for the duration of the removal.

 

Where para occupational air monitoring is required, the licensed removalist must

not commence asbestos removal work until that monitoring has commenced.

 

A person who is suitable to conduct para occupational air monitoring for

asbestos removal work needs to be:

  •  experienced and knowledgeable in the asbestos removal industry
  •  competent in operating monitoring equipment such as sampling pumps
  •  able to implement the most appropriate sampling strategy and place the

appropriate number of sampling pumps in the correct locations

  • able to comply with the ASCC Guidance Note The membrane filter method

for estimating airborne asbestos fibers (available at ascc.gov.au)

  • able to adequately store and transport samples to ensure a proper chain

of custody prior to analysis.

 

This person must be competent to perform para occupational air monitoring

but does not have to be approved by anyone. The person who analyses the

subsequent samples however, must be an approved analyst.

 

The person who performs para occupational air monitoring needs to determine

all air monitoring requirements. Among other things, they need to decide:

  • the location, rate and frequency of sampling
  •  whether it is necessary to monitor air quality in areas next to, above and

below the asbestos removal area and in routes used for removing asbestos

waste, taking account of the potential exposure of current and future

occupants of these areas

  • whether additional routine air sampling is warranted (eg in nearby high occupancy

areas)

  • clearance air monitoring requirements

Para occupational air monitors generally need to be placed in the middle of the

sampling area, away from areas where there may be poor air-mixing (eg close

to walls, corners or large objects) or fast air movements (eg in front of

air conditioning inlets or exhausts).

 

If an enclosure is used, para occupational air monitoring needs to occur:

  •  prior to any work (background monitoring)
  •  throughout the duration of the removal work (commencing before the

asbestos removal work commences and finishing after asbestos removal

work finishes for the day or shift)

  • at least at the boundary of the asbestos removal work area
  • as part of preliminary clearance monitoring following a satisfactory visual

inspection

  • during dismantling of the enclosure
  • as part of the final clearance inspection.

If an enclosure and a decontamination unit are used, para occupational

air monitoring needs to occur at the following locations:

  •  clean side of the decontamination unit
  •  change area
  • lunch room (where applicable)
  • surroundings of the asbestos work area, including near the negative

air unit (where possible).

 

Air monitoring of the exhaust from the extraction unit is a specialized task.

The membrane filter method (MFM) is unsuitable because the results obtained

do not always truly reflect actual fiber concentrations in the exhaust air. Air

monitoring devices also should not be positioned at the exit point of a negative

air unit because this can lead to unwarranted confidence in the filter’s integrity.

If the exhaust is to be monitored directly, iso-kinetic sampling techniques need

to be used.

 

The person who commissioned the removal work must arrange for the analysis

of samples to be done by an approved asbestos analyst. An approved asbestos

analyst is a person approved by NATA to perform asbestos fiber counting (or

to identify asbestos in samples) and to issue reports under the authority of

a NATA-accredited laboratory. Such persons may be found at nata.asn.au.

If an analysis is requested for the purpose of meeting a regulatory requirement,

ensure the report has a NATA stamp.

 

The results of para occupational air monitoring cannot be compared to the

asbestos exposure standard specified in the Regulations. The asbestos

exposure standard is designed to assist in controlling risk to employees and

is measured in the employees’ breathing zone.

 

Para occupational air monitoring is conducted at stationary or static positions outside the removal area to evaluate the effectiveness of controls.

 

The person who commissioned the removal work must:

  •  give a copy of the results to the licensed removalist as soon as the results

are received

  •  ensure the results are accessible to the HSR of any affected designated

work group

  • ensure the results are accessible to any affected employees.

Air monitoring action levels

 

Where levels exceed 0.01 fibers/ml, the licensed removalist must take

the following action:

  •  more than 0.01 fibers/ml but less than or equal to 0.05 fibers/ml:

– investigate the cause

– implement controls to prevent exposure and prevent further release

  •  more than 0.05 fibers/ml:

– stop removal work

– notify WorkSafe – this needs to be done as soon as possible by

phone followed by a fax of the results accompanying a statement that

work has ceased

– investigate the cause – this needs to include a thorough visual

inspection of the enclosure (if used) and associated equipment in

consultation with all employees involved with the removal work

– implement controls to prevent exposure and further release – this

needs to include extending the isolated/barricaded area around the

removal area/enclosure as far as reasonably practicable (until airborne

asbestos fiber levels are at or below 0.01 fibers/ml), wet wiping and

vacuuming the surrounding area, sealing any identified leaks (eg with

expandable foam or tape) and smoke testing the enclosure until it is

satisfactorily sealed

– do not recommence asbestos removal work until further

para occupational air monitoring is conducted that indicates

the airborne asbestos fiber levels are at or below 0.01 fiber/ml.

 

Employees and other persons entering the area must be adequately protected.

This is likely to require respiratory protection (the level will depend on the likely

level of exposure) and personal protective clothing.

 

This type of air monitoring is required after friable ACM has been removed

and the area has been cleaned dry to ensure fiber levels are less than

0.01 fibers/ml.

 

For removal jobs involving an enclosed area, para occupational air monitoring

needs to be done following completion of the removal work both prior to and

after removal of the enclosure.

 

Where fiber levels are found to be equal to or greater than 0.01 fibers/ml,

further clean-up work (such as wet wiping and vacuuming of the area) must

take place. The area must then be re-tested to establish the fiber levels are

less than 0.01 fibers/ml.

 

The Regulations do not require any form of air monitoring for non-friable

asbestos removal work. However, the person who commissioned the removal

work needs to consider providing para occupational air monitoring during

removal of non-friable ACM that is being done in or next to a public location.

 

The results of this monitoring may assist in addressing any potential concerns

raised by persons occupying these areas.

 

A clearance certificate is a written statement confirming the asbestos removal

area and the area surrounding it have been cleaned satisfactorily and are safe

to be re-occupied (by unprotected persons) for normal use.

 

When must a clearance certificate be obtained?

 

A clearance certificate must be obtained prior to any person re-occupying

the area where removal work has been done in relation to:

  •  any quantity of friable ACM, or
  •  non-friable ACM greater than 10 square meters.

If a clearance certificate has not been obtained, the area where the removal

work was done must not be re-occupied. For example, at a site containing

non-friable ACM where demolition is to take place, the ACM must be removed,

so far as is reasonably practicable, before demolition work starts. A clearance

certificate must then be issued before the area can be re-occupied for

demolition or other work.

 

At a work site such as a factory where asbestos removal work is taking place,

the removal work cannot be stopped to allow employees, the owner of the

factory or anyone else (other than those persons specified in paragraph 259)

to enter the removal area prior to a clearance certificate being issued.

Who must obtain a clearance certificate?

 

The person who commissioned the removal work (not the licensed removalist)

must obtain a clearance certificate from an independent person.

The exception to this is when removal is conducted in domestic premises used

solely for domestic purposes (and the person who commissioned the removal is

the owner of the premises). In this case, the licensed removalist must obtain the

clearance certificate.

 

The clearance certificate must state that:

  •  an inspection by an independent person has found there is no visible asbestos residue              remaining as a result of the asbestos removal work in the area where the removal work was done or in the immediately surrounding area.
  • if applicable, asbestos para occupational air monitoring in the area where the

removal work was done indicates the airborne asbestos fiber level is less

than 0.01 fibers/ml (para occupational air monitoring is not required for glove

bag removals or where the removal work is done outdoors and will not pose

a risk to other persons).

 

The clearance certificate should also include the scope of the removal work

performed to avoid confusion with any remaining fixed or installed asbestos

that was not part of the asbestos removal work.

 

Where para occupational air monitoring is required, the samples collected must

be analysed by an approved analyst. When the person

who commissioned the removal work obtains the clearance certificate, they

also need to ask for the NATA-accredited report related to the counting of

asbestos fibers.

 

The visual inspection relates to the removal work that was done and any visible

asbestos residue resulting from the removal work in the removal area and the

area surrounding it at the time of the inspection. The visual inspection for a

clearance certificate does not require wipe samples (or settled dust sampling).

However, settled dust sampling may be performed to provide an indication of

cleanliness. The need for any settled dust sampling should be determined and

undertaken by a person with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience

to determine and undertake such sampling.

 

In some situations, it may be apparent that asbestos contamination of the

removal area could occur after the visual inspection. In these situations, the

person performing the visual inspection and issuing the clearance certificate

needs to explain that the visual inspection relates to the removal work that

was done and the status of the area at the time of the inspection (photos

may assist). In addition to the clearance certificate, a further statement needs

to be provided explaining there is potential for asbestos contamination in the

area based on the particular circumstances, which need to be described.

 

What must a clearance certificate for non-friable asbestos removal

work contain?

 

The clearance certificate must state that an inspection by an independent

person has found there is no visible asbestos residue remaining as a result

of the asbestos removal work in the area where the removal work was done

or in the immediately surrounding area.

 

Procedure and requirements relating to visible inspection for a clearance

inspection are the same as for friable asbestos removal work .

 

Para occupational air monitoring and clearance inspections

 

An independent person is someone who is independent from the licensed

removalist and from the person who commissioned the removal work.

This person must not be in a position of conflict with their independence

of judgement and integrity in relation to their inspection activity. Anyone

who has a conflict of interest or a vested interest in declaring there is no

visible asbestos residue remaining would not be considered independent.

An independent person can not be a director, employee or person with

a pecuniary interest.

 

In some cases, a consultant may be engaged to manage a project.

Where this consultant commissions the removalist, they can not take

on the role of the independent person to issue the clearance certificate.

 

An independent person must have the requisite knowledge, skills and

experience to undertake visual inspections. This means they must have:

  •  knowledge of the asbestos removal industry and the Regulations
  •  the ability to identify what is or what may be ACM
  • the ability to thoroughly inspect the area for suspect material
  • experience in asbestos removal work, inspection of asbestos removal areas

or audits of workplaces for ACM that is relevant to the visual inspection to

be performed (eg friable or non-friable ACM, the type of structure or plant

from which ACM was removed)

  • the ability to interpret para occupational air monitoring reports for friable

removal work (where required).

 

The person proposing to engage the independent person should consider

asking for referees and examples of clearance certificates issued for other

removal work. They should also ask the independent person what process they

will be undertaking to assist in determining whether this person’s knowledge,

skills and experience are appropriate.

 

There must be no contractual or financial relationship between the independent

person and the licensed removalist unless the removal is conducted in domestic

premises used solely for domestic purposes (and the person who commissioned

the removal work is the owner of the premises).