Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring minerals that can be found in rocks, soil, or sediments. It is made up of soft and flexible bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin and durable threads and are used in industrial as well as commercial applications. It can be used to make other materials like cloth, cement, plastic, paper, etc. stronger.
According to Australia’s Work Health and Safety organization, asbestos includes:
- Grunerite or amosite
- It can also be a mixture containing one or more of the minerals listed above.
As an effective insulator, asbestos fibers do not conduct electricity and it is fire as well as heat resistant. This makes it quite useful in many applications. These same characteristics make it quite dangerous to human health because when the fiber or dust is inhaled or ingested, they can become trapped in the human body.
Over time the trapped fibers can lead to inflammation, scarring, genetic damage and various types of cancer. Diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer have been associated with it. You can learn more about this here.
Laws and regulations that regulate the lifecycle of asbestos, as well as products that contain the material, exist all over Australia. These laws prohibit the production, importation, recycling, and use of the material. It also oversees the safe management, removal as well as transportation and disposal of its wastes and any other ACM that may be present anywhere in the country.
The Safe Work Australia developed these laws for the Work Health and Safety (WHS) organization which has been adopted by most states and territories. Although some aspects of these laws vary across states and territories, they are mostly similar.
Victoria is one of two states in Australia that have not adopted the regulations but have regulations that are similar to the WHS model.
In Australia, asbestos is categorized into two types. This is based on how risky it is to health. These categories are:
Non-friable or bonded asbestos
This contains fibers that are mixed with binding material like cement. When it is in a good condition, it is less risky to human health.
This type of asbestos will crumble, become pulverized or can be reduced to powder when it is dry. It is considered to carry greater health risk than the non-friable type because when dried and disturbed, its loose fibers will become airborne and can easily be inhaled or ingested.
What is Asbestos Removal?
To ensure the environment is safe and healthy for all, as mentioned earlier, asbestos has been banned in Australia. However, buildings that were constructed during the 1950s up to the mid-1980s when the use of the material was at its peak are still likely to contain a significant amount of it. This necessitates a process of its removal from these buildings.
As an owner of either a residential or commercial property, removing it from your building is important to ensure the safety of the occupants of the said building. It is not enough to just remove it, there are ways and guidelines to do this so the fibers does not become airborne and affect humans as well as animals. You can learn more on this here: https://safestart.com/news/how-to-safely-work-with-asbestos/.
In Melbourne which is the capital of Victoria State in Australia, some legislations govern its removal from buildings whether it be residential or commercial. Safe asbestos removal is necessary to avoid undue exposure. This makes it essential to get licensed and experienced asbestos removal specialists to help you get rid of it from your building. These people are typically referred to as removalists.
Although there are several DIY asbestos removal tips available, this can only be done on a small scale. The maximum an unlicensed person can remove is 10 m2 of the non-friable variant. To perform large-scale removals in Melbourne, you need either a Class A or Class B license.
Class A licensed specialists can perform any kind of removal and at any scale including getting rid of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and asbestos-contaminated dust or debris (ACD). Class B licensed removalists are limited to removing all kinds of non-friable asbestos, ACMs as well as ACDs.
Tips on Choosing a Removalist
To conduct removal in Melbourne as well as the whole of Australia, the necessary authorities in the city, state, or jurisdiction have to be informed. This information includes details about the removal specialist that you intend to use, their level of training, experience and if they are licensed. This makes it essential that you choose a removalist such as Bison Melbourne that satisfy these criteria.
In addition to the above, you may need to check if they have insurance. This helps to protect both parties in case anything goes wrong during the process of removal. You should also check that they are well equipped with tools and equipment to carry out the removal and ask them questions about the standards procedures used in the process.
Typically, removal specialists have tools and techniques that they use to prevent the spread of asbestos fiber in the air. They start with containing and isolating the area with plastic sheeting. They also use water for wetting the area or building as this helps to stop the particles from becoming airborne.
After the removal, they collect and properly dispose of the waste as well as decontaminate the area to make it safe for dwelling. Knowing all of the processes involved will help you to ask the right questions as well as choose the right specialist to carry out the removal for your building.
During a renovation or construction of a building, there may be a need for an inspector to check the building for asbestos. Asides from physically examining the building, they will take samples to the laboratory for tests. If traces of the material is found, then you need to proceed with the removal. After the removal, there is also a need to conduct a re-inspection to certify that the area and building are safe.
Asbestos for all its good uses in building construction has been found to be dangerous to health. It is essential that if your home or building still has traces of this material that it should be expunged completely.
Doing so ensures that you and any other occupants of the building are safe from the associated health risk. Certified removalists in Melbourne are always available to help out with this in a professional manner.