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The Deadly Legacy of Asbestos in Australia
Latest News reported that the asbestos legacy of the past has created bigger problems for remote Indigenous communities. The report finds that asbestos-containing material (ACM) poisoning is still a big risk in remotes areas like North Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, NSW and Queensland.
This hazardous material has been a tremendous problem in every part of Australia. ACMs affected many people and communities in Australia, including the Indigenous communities. This toxic material is found to be in many Indigenous corporations, land councils, and older infrastructures: such as in public buildings, housing and churches.
ACMs in The Past
Since the late 1800s, friable ACM products have been extensively used in commercial and industrial settings for fire resistance, soundproofing and insulation. Housing built before 1990 may also be installed with friable products.
Its affordability and unique quality attracted many industries to use the products. The material is known for its flexibility, versatility and insulating capability. It was estimated that there are more than 3000 applications of ACMs worldwide. Australia is one of the highest users among the countries in the world until the mid-1980s.
Australia first manufactured Asbestos cement (AC) materials in the 1920s. From the mid-1940s until the late 1980s, the product was largely used in the manufacture of domestic buildings materials. The famous product of AC is fibro, shorts for fibrous cement sheet. It was used mainly for roofing, wall cladding, fences and ceilings.
Among six types of ACMs, chrysotile and crocidolite were largely mined in Australia up to the late 1984. Between 1930 and 1983, nearly 1.5 million tonnes of all types of ACMs were imported to Australia.
The material was banned on December 31, 2003. The total ban applied to manufacture, import, transport, use, reuse, sale or storage of ACM in all forms. Therefore, infrastructures built after the ban will not be affected by the fibrous material.
The ban is expected to stop any kind of use of fibrous products in the construction industry. However, the reality speaks differently. The material still could be found to be installed in some buildings. According to authorities, dozens of Australians premises are contaminated by ACMs that were imported illegally from China. There are more than 50 buildings all over the nation suspected of containing illegal fibrous materials from China.
The information is a call for a serious awareness concerning the presence of fibrous materials within the recently built buildings. Thus, survey and testing become priority actions that needed to be done immediately before the ACM causes more health risks to more people.
Further reading: www.abc.net.au/news
What is asbestos Survey?
It includes an identification and assessment of fibrous materials within a building. The purposes include:
- Performing a visual inspection of accessible locations in a building
- Detecting materials or products that might contain fibrous materials
- Documenting ACM type and its accessibility within a structure
- Assessing recent condition of the ACM and its’ potential disturbance
- Providing recommendations for controlling and minimising the risk of exposure
The survey should also be performed for those who plan to do renovations and major refurbishment. Although it might add some cost to the renovation project, the survey will ensure that health and condition of everyone are well-protected during the working process.
A licensed assessor is strongly suggested for handling the survey. In every state and territories, the work must be done by a competent person. To decide the competent person you plan to hire, you should put into consideration these following aspects:
- Have they followed training and possessed enough experience in doing sampling for ACMs?
- Do they have the experience and knowledge to check suspected fibrous products and can determine appropriate risk and control measures?
- Are they familiar with construction and building practices to decide the potential hideaway location of fibrous products?
There are three types of surveys for identifying fibrous products:
- Presumptive Inspection – it involves identifications of suspected materials without taking samples.
- Sampling Inspection – it is similar to the previous, but it includes the collection of samples of the suspected materials and testing them
- Demolition inspection – the process provides the location of fibrous products in a building that needed to be removed before demolition. Wall cavities and other inaccessible areas are also included in the process.
An asbestos register will be provided as the result of the inspection. The register is an important part of an asbestos management plan. The inspection should be performed annually or if the materials have been damaged or removed. The purpose is to re-assess the possible risks of friable or non-friable ACMs to health.
If the result of the survey detects the presence of material containing hazardous fibres, some actions have to be done immediately. Removal is one of the methods that can be applied for handling the case. Using a qualified removalist is the best option for a safe and clean working process. They are well-trained to perform jobs related to removal and testing. The person without a license is allowed to do the removal. DIY is permitted for removal but only for work that involves non-friable fibrous materials.
Whether it is a professional or individual without license, both need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) during the process. The safety kits, such as a standard mask, gloves, overall or sealed plastic bags are intended to minimise exposure of fibres during the work.
There is an allowed duration for working with materials containing dangerous fibres. Based on the regulations, the short duration for working with a material containing harmful fibres for one person is less than an hour. While if the work is going to be performed by more than one person, then the allowed working duration is less than two hours in any seven consecutive days.
A Qualified Contractor
An asbestos removal work requires a qualified contractor that is able to perform the work following the standard procedures set by the local or national regulations. If you are looking for that professional who is capable of performing asbestos removal Bunbury work, getting in touch with asbestos watch Bunbury is the right option. Our endorsed removalists have passed a selective test. They possess certification and an A-class license as a guarantee that they are authorised to work on asbestos removal Bunbury service.
Also, they are available with main four services including:
Our endorsed contractors are available with pre- and post services, such as completion of a control plan and disposal. The waste produced after the removal will be disposed of to a legal landfill.
Is the price for the service becomes your consideration? We assure you that there will be no overpricing for all offered services. Our approved contractors will give you a value price that is worth the expected result. For your benefit, three quotes are entitled to you for free. You can estimate your expenses for our members’ asbestos removal Bunbury services.
For a good price and excellent service of asbestos removal, call our endorsed contractors right now. Let them solve your problem.