Safe Work Practices—Asbestos Removal And Safe Handling
Removal of asbestos requires a proper safety protocol, without which there is a danger of asbestos spreading everywhere. Any contractor, homeowner or worker who engages in asbestos removal without following the guidelines provided by OSHA, is liable to get fined or in case of repeated violations, jailed. Mishandling of asbestos is quite common, especially in construction sites; this is why asbestos continues to take lives in the US each year.
Here are certain safe work practices that are compulsory while removing asbestos:
Protective gear is the first line of defense for any person working with asbestos. The protective gear includes gloves, hat, eyewear, respirators and boots.
The respirators should not be ordinary duct masks, but specifically designed for asbestos removal. They should have class P1 or P2 cartridge filters installed.
The clothing, gloves and hat should never be kept for reuse and should be disposed of along with the asbestos.
Isolating the area (Working indoors)
The area that contains asbestos should be completely sealed off, by shutting all the internal doors and windows. This will prevent asbestos from spreading elsewhere in the building.
However, the external windows should remain open to allow proper ventilation in the area. The floor of the area should be covered with a plastic sheeting to catch debris and dirt during the removal process.
Any occupants or visitors should be kept away from the area until the asbestos is removed.
Securing the parameters (Working Outdoors)
It is important to inform people nearby about the asbestos removal activity in advance. They should be given a time-frame in which they should shut the windows and doors of their homes or buildings.
The building for which asbestos removal is being done should also have all its external windows and doors shut. The nearby soil should be covered with plastic to avoid contamination. All personal vehicles should be kept away during the removal process.
Outdoor asbestos removal should be called off if the wind is too strong.
Before the disturbing the asbestos in any way, the asbestos material should be wetted. This requires a PVA (polyvinyl acetate) 1:10 spray, or a light water spray could also work. The asbestos material should remain wet until it is sealed and ready to be transported, so that microscopic asbestos fibers don’t become airborne.
Only non-powered hand tools should be used while removing the asbestos material, as they will produce less dust and waste chips that are easy to transport.
The asbestos material should be sealed off in double polythene bags. Then the tools, equipment and work area should be thoroughly cleaned. Only wet mops, wet rags and a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner should be used.
Once the asbestos waste is carefully packed in polythene bags, the bags should be labeled as “Asbestos Waste”. It should then be securely transported to a designated asbestos landfill site.
Along with the asbestos waste, the disposable clothing should also be packed and labeled, and disposed of at the same landfill site.
At ACI-TECH INC., we follow this strict protocol, which ensures the safety of the residents. Call us today on (610) 497-7162 to get a no-obligation free estimate for any kind of asbestos abatement and removal.