Regulations on Removal of Asbestos

Advice on how to remove asbestos safely from residential and public buildings including the workplace

Removal of asbestos in the workplace and in the home have to be undertaken by licensed contractors. The decision on whether work should be carried out by a licensed contractor depends on the degree of risk and exposure. Minor work on asbestos can be done without a licensed contractor only if care is taken and procedures followed.

Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)

Before you can remove asbestos, you need to know where asbestos containing materials (ACM) are commonly found in the workplace, public buildings and in the home. ACM products are found in:

1. Asbestos cement products: widely used in construction with up to 15% asbestos content. They are present as profile sheets for roofs in the form of tiles and slates. They are also commonly found as flat partition boards for use in linings in walls and ceilings.

2. ACM products are commonly found in bonded materials such as vinyl floor tiles and lino where asbestos composition can be as high as 15%.

3. ACM products were commonly used as insulating boards, used for fire, heat and sound insulation over the years. With asbestos content up to 40% in composition, these materials were widely used during the seventies in gutters, ceiling tiles wall linings.

4. Asbestos containing materials with the highest composition of asbestos (50 - 100%) are found in pipes and boiler laggings. 5. Main areas where asbestos materials are commonly found include: • Floor tiles
• Fire blankets
• Bath panels
• Roofs of sheds and garages
• Storage heater insulation panels
• Partition board linings for walls, doors and ceilings
• Gutters and rainwater pipes

How to Remove Asbestos Safely

Removal of asbestos should always be done with safety in mind using the right protective gear:
• Wear protective clothing
• Wear protective breathing apparatus or a dust mask
• Keep all asbestos materials wet to prevent release of dust and fibres into the air
• Ensure others are kept away from the vicinity of the work
• Avoid drilling, scraping and sanding asbestos materials prior to painting in order to prevent release of dust and fibres
• Only use industrial vacuums to clear up the dust; never use domestic vacuums

Disposal of Asbestos

When removing asbestos, the waste should never be placed in the dustbin. Small materials should be made wet and placed in strengthened plastic bags, sealed and clearly marked with the warning sign ASBESTOS. Larger materials such as sheets of asbestos-cement and sections of roofs should be wrapped in plastic sheeting such as polythene and removed as hazardous wastes.

Asbestos Removal Regulations

Asbestos regulations require that any renovation, refurbishment or demolition of workplace premises will require an asbestos survey by a licensed contractor. The 2006 directive highlighting the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR), Regulation 4 (The Management of Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises) clearly states that responsibility lies entirely with duty holders for the safe management, removal and disposal of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM). Typically, the duty holder will either be the owner of the premises, the tenant occupier, or letting agent of office, warehouse or factory premises.

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