In Sydney, before 1990, constructions widely used Asbestos in properties. You would find it in fibro, flue pipes, gutters and gaskets. It was also sprayed on as a flame retardant and as a thermal insulator.
After 1990, however, its usage decreased drastically. Finally, the Australian government imposed a total ban on Asbestos in 2003. Therefore, if you intend to renovate your premises as the owner of a residential or commercial property, it might be pertinent for you to test it for Asbestos. You will need to contact a service that specialises in Asbestos Removal in Sydney.
What risk does Asbestos pose?
Asbestos, per se, is not hazardous. But it becomes dangerous when its fibres are released into the air. Asbestos that can crumble into fibres is called “friable”. It poses the highest risk in a friable state, as it can quickly enter your respiratory system, consequently becoming the leading cause of asbestosis, cancer, and mesothelioma.
Friable Asbestos was widely used in industries across Australia. However, loose-fill Asbestos has also been commonly found in residential properties in the NSW region.
Who is at risk?
Your construction or demolition crew, specifically the building inspectors, excavators, workers handling flooring jobs, painters, tile setters, sawyers, contractors and building managers, are at high risk of exposure.
More than 80% of mesothelioma cases in Australia are caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. And greater than 25% of these patients were construction workers. Electricians, engineers, carpenters, blacksmiths and plumbers are at medium risk of asbestos exposure.
How can you minimise the risk?
- As a manager, you must chalk out an asbestos management plan that follows the Safe Work Australia guidelines. Among other tasks, you need to identify the location of Asbestos, include control measures, outline procedures for emergencies involving Asbestos, and maintain up-to-date information on asbestos-related regulation.
- You must inform your workers about the health risks associated with exposure and monitor their health throughout the project.
- You must wear and provide protective equipment when working with Asbestos.
- If you think Asbestos may be existing on your site, you must call a licensed Asbestos professional to take care of it.
- According to Safe Work Australia rules, you will need to call a licensed professional if you have to remove more than 10 square metres of non-friable Asbestos.
What work can be handled by licensed asbestos professionals?
Asbestos Removal in Sydney consists mainly of 2 categories: Friable (high-risk work) and non-friable (moderate risk work). Service providers with a Class A license can handle both types of work, whereas businesses with Class B are allowed to handle only Non-friable asbestos-related work.
The Friable services (requires a class A licence) you can avail include:
- Work on low-density board wall and ceiling linings; roof insulation.
- Asbestos wall and roof sheeting (if there has been fire damage).
- Working on contaminated soils’ and working with asbestos dust and debris.
The Non-friable services (requires a class B license) you can inquire about are:
- Asbestos fencing work.
- Vinyl floor tiling work.
- Application of asbestos backing sheets in electrical distribution boards.
- Removal of asbestos-containing water pipes, gutters and downpipes.
Asbestos exposure is a serious issue, and Australia has the second-highest mesothelioma death rate globally, after the UK. Over five years, 176 Australians claimed compensation for asbestos exposure, which amounted to $85 million in payment.
As a manager, you will have to take a call on handling Asbestos in the environment. Remember to minimise risk and educate your workers on the associated risks. When uncertain, it is always a good decision to call the asbestos professionals. Also, read the Benefits of Opting for Vacate Cleaning Service.