Can You Remove Asbestos Yourself?July 24, 2018
It would be very ignorant of me to tell you that you cannot remove asbestos yourself. However, I would advise against it. Asbestos is harmful to human health and a person that isn’t trained or educated on how to remove asbestos safely will more than likely do more harm than good when attempting this dangerous procedure.
It is highly, highly recommended to employ the help of a licensed professional who knows how to handle asbestos safely. Although it’s not illegal to remove 10 m2 of asbestos in NSW yourself provided you’re adhering to stringent safety specifications, it is very dangerous to health. So, let’s take a look at some of the guidelines for safely removing asbestos.
The Safework Bonded Asbestos Removal License
If you decide to remove asbestos, you are required to possess a SafeWork bonded asbestos removal license. This involves attending a short TAFE course that will teach you all the necessary skills and give you information to remove asbestos safely. Having a license does not permit you to remove any asbestos you come across – the license has restrictions. For instance, you are not permitted to remove loose fibre asbestos – a licensed asbestos removalist must be used if the asbestos in question has the ability to release loose particles into the air.
If You Must Remove Asbestos Yourself
Removing asbestos can be a time consuming and tedious endeavour that can be dangerous to the uninformed individual. The primary goal when removing asbestos safely is to not release fibres into the atmosphere. Dust and small particles from asbestos must be kept to an absolute minimum.
If asbestos has perished or is in the form of small particles or powder you must use a licensed asbestos removalist. I cannot stress this enough! Do not ignore this advice and try to tackle a job with small particle asbestos – it’s incredibly dangerous to your health.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Always ensure you have the necessary safety equipment. When removing asbestos, you should wear disposable coveralls with a hood, gloves, safety goggles and dust mask. When bu
ying your dust mask, it’s best to use a high-quality mask with interchangeable filters.
Avoid Breaking The Asbestos
When removing asbestos, it’s safer if the asbestos sheets are left intact. Careful planning is required before starting so you can remove the asbestos with minimal breakage. Do not cut or break the asbestos at all. Avoid using power tools to drill or cut the asbestos, as this will result in particles entering the atmosphere.
Set Up A Safety Barrier
Set up a safety barrier when removing asbestos to ensure that your family or passers-by do not enter the worksite and become at risk of inhaling the particles. Simply set up some hazard tape around the area and make signs that you are removing asbestos.
Sealing The Area
Before you start removing the asbestos lay down plastic sheeting to avoid the spread of asbestos particles. This will also make the job site easier to clean up. If your working outdoors always ensures to close all windows and doors to prevent asbestos from entering your home. It’s also recommended to seal the gaps under the doors using plastic or old towels.
Treat Asbestos Delicately
Asbestos should be handled with the utmost respect and delicacy. Be gentle when handling asbestos and do not throw or drop it on the ground. Try to keep the asbestos in one piece at all times.
Wrap It Up
Stack asbestos carefully on the 200um plastic sheets. Wrap it carefully and avoid breakages in the plastic. Then tape it up and seal it as airtight as possible using gaffer or duct tape. Ensure that you clearly label the asbestos waste before discarding.
As soon as asbestos is removed it should be wrapped immediately and not left exposed at any time. Clean the area thoroughly while wearing your PPE. At no cost should you use your household vacuum cleaner. Industrial vacuum cleaners can be hired. It’s best to talk with your local hire company and they will inform you of the best vacuum for the job, if they have one available.
Stay Clear of The Area When Not Working
When removing asbestos, it’s a good idea to take regular breaks. The coveralls can get very hot and you may take the risk of getting heat stroke. Never drink, eat, or smoke in the work area. The loose particles in the air may be consumed.
When disposing of your asbestos, ensure to cover the load in 200um plastic and transport it in the back of an airtight removal truck, then find a landfill site that is designated for receiving asbestos waste for disposal. Some dumps have restrictions in place on dumping industrial materials.
After reading this long list of requirements, it seems a lot easier to employ a licensed asbestos removal professional, doesn’t it?! They already have the license and tools the necessary to get the job safely and correct the first time round. So give your local asbestos removal company a call and remove any nasty asbestos from your home.