Earlier to 1970, asbestos was used in many parts of buildings from roofing, partitions, ceilings, pipes and others because it was a material that had many properties that were found useful. It was then discovered that asbestos products that were dry and friable led to asbestos fibres getting into the air, and when breathed in were responsible for many health problems some of which could cause death.
This led to the use of asbestos being stopped, and gradual removal of all such products, once they had deteriorated and could no longer provide the required service. The removal of asbestos is an undertaking of great sensitivity that requires attention to very high precautionary standards. Asbestos removal requirements must go through a proper preparation phase that can help in avoiding any adverse health effects on the occupants of a building and the workers engaged in its removal.
You have to start with a detailed assessment of the site containing asbestos and the listing of all asbestos-containing products in an asbestos register and the types of asbestos present. This can be friable asbestos which is the most dangerous, and other products containing asbestos with binding products. It can also help if a proper analysis is carried out of air samples taken from the afflicted site. This air testing must be carried out by independent asbestos assessors who are independent of the agency appointed for the asbestos removal.
An asbestos removal plan must then be worked out with a full calculation of the asbestos materials that need removal and others that can be retained. The company or agency appointed for the asbestos removal requirements must be certified and licensed to carry out such removal. Their workers must be experienced in asbestos removal and must be fully equipped with protective gear and clothing that ensures that they do not breathe in asbestos fibres during the removal operations. The equipment must be checked for faults before the commencement of operations.
The asbestos register must be checked and every item that is listed for removal must be clearly marked. Power and water pipes that need deactivation prior to any dismantling work must be attended to, and alternative arrangements for providing water and electricity must be made. The site where the removal is to be undertaken must be cordoned off and made off-limits to everyone except the personnel involved in the removal operations. All other occupants of the building must also be notified of the operations.
It can help if the area where the asbestos removal is taking place is sprayed with a fine mist of water that can help to trap any asbestos fibres floating in the air and rendering them harmless. The dismantling and removal operations can then commence, and all debris must be collected and sealed in proper disposal bags. All these bags must then be sent to waste disposal sites that are authorised to receive asbestos debris.
Air samples must be collected again, and the site considered fit for occupation, only after test results of the air indicate that no asbestos fibres are present.