If there is asbestos in your home or commercial area, you should refrain from touching it. This proves a risk when the asbestos fibers produce dust. If however, the material is undamaged and does not show any signs of wear and tear, it can be left as it is. However, it needs to be visually examined periodically to ensure there is no damage or deterioration.
Asbestos waste should be disposed in places which are approved by the local authorities. There are also licensed companies which collect and remove this waste. These are done in different drums, containers, skips and bins.
If the asbestos waste is taken to the site which is approved by the local authorities, it should be bagged or double wrapped. The load is to be secured well so that it doesn’t fly off or bounce off.
If the asbestos products are removed by someone else, that person should be a licensed removal. Those who are not licensed are not allowed to remove asbestos which is loosely bound. They can only remove asbestos which is firmly bound and that too which is less than 10 square meters. They can remove asbestos for less than an hour in a calendar week.
Asbestos removal is controlled by the Environmental Protection Act and by the Environmental Protection Regulations. As per the law, one is not allowed to dispose of asbestos products in the recycling or local waste. They are not allowed to dump these products or placed in hard rubbish collections.
The reason is that these asbestos fibers are hazardous when they are inhaled. When the asbestos products are not handled correctly or not stored or not transported correctly, they are released into the air.
As per the legal rules:
- Asbestos waste should be stored in an environmentally safe manner. This would include wetting it down and sealing it in heavy duty plastic before it is transported.
- Bonded asbestos has to be packaged securely at all times.
- The friable asbestos needs to be sealed in containers.
- Any soil which is contaminated by asbestos is to be wetted.
- Asbestos waste is to be transported in leak proof covered vehicles.
- It needs to be disposed in sites which the local authorities permit for disposing of this waste.
- If more than 10 square meters of friable asbestos is to be removed, a licensed contractor needs to be engaged and the contractor is to create a unique consignment number for this and needs to have it reported to the EPA.
When you are working with asbestos the following precautions need to be taken:
- You should wear a dust mask which is recommended for this kind of work. Masks which have 2 straps should be worn. A hat, gloves and coveralls with a hood should be worn as well as safety glasses to protect your eyes.
- When you are near the area you should neither smoke, eat or drink else you may inhale the dust. The hands and face should be washed with soap and water at the end of the day.
- Power tools should not be used as it will release asbestos fibers.
- Water blasting is never to be done and nor should it be scrubbed with a brush or stiff broom.
- It should be lightly dampened so that the dust can be avoided.
- Drilling holes are not allowed nor is cutting.
- These sheets are to be carefully lowered. They must never be dropped and should not be broken either.
These are some of the cautions which need to be maintained.