Knowing asbestos and the dangers it comes with, it should not come as a shocker that Governments banned asbestos use in future construction when studies indicated the dangers of asbestos. Contractors are removing asbestos from buildings as it contributes to an increased risk of lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. You should always hire a licensed asbestos-removal contractor to remove asbestos in commercial areas, but non-professionals may operate removals in domestic settings.

Let’s go through the various procedures of getting rid of asbestos safely:

TAKING SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 

Wear personal protection equipment

It is vital that you wear the appropriate equipment for the removal of asbestos. Since asbestos is a dangerous material, you must take the correct clothing precautions.

  • You should wear a dust mask with 2 straps. Single-strap dust masks do not provide adequate protection.
  • You should also wear a hat, gloves, safety goggles and good quality overalls with a hood.

Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking near the work area

Doing these activities near the area you’re working in could expose you to dust particles which you could inhale or ingest. Set up a designated rest area away from the places you’ll be working. 

  • Wash your hands and face rigorously with soap and water before lunch breaks and after you’ve finished work for the day.

Avoid using power tools directly on the asbestos

 Using power tools directly on the asbestos will break the asbestos and release the harmful asbestos fibers into the air. Only use power tools on materials you are completely sure are not made of asbestos. If in doubt, avoid using power tools at all.

Wet the asbestos with water

Using a pump spray, lightly dampen the asbestos with water. This will ensure that the dangerous dust sticks to the sheets and will reduce the risk of particles getting into the air. Make sure to spray as much of the asbestos as you can.

Advise family members and neighbors to leave the area

 When working with asbestos, you should always tell people who might be in the same area about the nature of the work you’re doing. You can tell family members and neighbors about the dangers and suggest they leave the area.

  • If family members or neighbors do not leave the area, make sure they stay indoors for as long as they can with the windows and doors shut.
  • You should also take pets from the area and advise neighbors to do the same.

Place plastic sheeting under the workspace

This is to prevent any loose asbestos dust from contaminating the ground and causing danger after the job is complete. Use thick plastic sheeting or thick plastic bags. To be extra safe, lay 2 layers of plastic wrapping.

  • Do not use recycled or reused plastic bags.

Move children’s play equipment away from the area

 The equipment should either be securely stored in a shed or similar structure or transported away from the area. It is not enough to simply cover the equipment with plastic. Sandpits or areas where children play sports that you cannot remove should be well covered by plastic wrapping.

Close windows and doors and seal the room

Use tape and plastic sheets to cover vents and the bottom of doors to prevent any particles from escaping the area. Seal the room, or rooms, off from other areas of the house. Fireplaces should also be well covered with plastic sheets.

Remove furnishings from the work area

 Take all curtains, rugs, and carpets from the area and store them elsewhere. These furnishings will trap dust which can later escape back into the air.

  • As an extra precaution, these items should also be tightly sealed in plastic bags.

CLEANING UP THE ASBESTOS 

Stack, wrap, and label the asbestos

Set up plastic sheets and place the asbestos sheets on top of them. Then double wrap the asbestos sheets and double tape the wrapping to ensure it’s sufficiently sealed. Use labels to clearly indicate that the bags contain asbestos.

  • When placing asbestos sheets on top of each other, do not slide or skid the sheets. Gently place the sheets directly over each other. Sliding or skidding can damage the asbestos and release the fibers into the air.

Remove the asbestos from the area immediately

Leaving the asbestos around the room is only waiting for trouble. You might step on it, trip over it, or knock it over.

Clean the entire workspace

Use a damp cloth or rag to clean any items or areas which may have asbestos dust on them. You should clean any area asbestos passed through as thoroughly as the workspace itself. Ensure that no asbestos leaves the area on shoes, power tools, or clothing.

  • Place all disposable clothing and cloths or rags used in cleaning in disposable bags and label the bags so it’s clear they contain asbestos.

Vacuum the work area with a specialized asbestos vacuum

 You must not use a household vacuum cleaner for this task. Use only specialized asbestos vacuums designed to ensure the minimal amount of asbestos, if any, enters the air.

  • If you’re buying a vacuum for the job, go to your local hardware or electrical store and ask for a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum cleaner.

DUMPING THE ASBESTOS 

Dampen and double wrap the asbestos. Use the pump spray to lightly dampen the asbestos before double wrapping it to keep as much dust as possible stuck to the asbestos. Wrap the plastic as tightly as possible around the asbestos to ensure no dust escapes. Tape the wrapping together when finished as tightly as you can to ensure no dust escapes.

Tape and label the plastic wrapping. When the asbestos is tightly wrapped, use tape to secure the plastic bags and make sure they don’t become loose. Place labels on the wrapping to clearly indicate that it contains asbestos.

Transport all waste in a covered, leak-proof vehicle. Do not use an open-top truck or any other vehicle that isn’t sufficiently sealed to transport the waste. Open top trucks and other vehicles allow the possibility of damage to the plastic wrapping and asbestos dust could escape into the air.

Dispose of the asbestos at an approved landfill site. Make sure that the landfill site can take asbestos waste before you start your journey. You can find a list of approved landfill sites in your area by searching online for “[Your location] asbestos-approved landfill sites.”

  • Do not attempt to recycle asbestos or place it in domestic bins.

Now you know how to dispose asbestos the right way. But never second guess the need to seek professional help should you require it. Your friends at ADNA Contracting are always here to give you a sturdy helping hand! We are just a click away, get in touch with us today and you’ll be glad (and safer) you did.