Asbestos Removals

Removal of Asbestos Containing Materials

As the Duty Holder you will have compiled your Asbestos Register from either a Management Survey or a Refurbishment Survey report.

Both types of survey will have recommendations as to how to deal with any identified asbestos containing materials (ACMs). If they are likely to be disturbed during refurbishment work then the recommendation will normally be to remove the materials altogether.

For higher risk materials, such as asbestos insulating board (AIB), lagging, insulation and sprayed coatings, removals must be carried out by a licensed contractor. These materials all have the potential to release larger amounts of fibre than lower risk materials such as asbestos cement.

This licensed work is, by its very nature, significantly hazardous and operatives must, therefore, have specific training and work practices. They must undergo regular medical checks to ensure that their health is not being adversely affected and must also use specialist protective equipment and breathing apparatus.

There are some kinds of removals that do not require a licence due to the lower risk of the materials involved. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) gives examples of the type of work that requires licenses or not.

In addition to the requirements for removal companies to be licensed, the regulations also stipulate that certain types of work must be notified to the HSE or other Enforcing Authority. The notification is submitted using an ASB5 form and work cannot take place until 14 days after it is submitted.

The method for removing asbestos will differ depending on the material that contains it and how it has been applied. In most cases the area where work is to be carried out will need to be sealed off and the air flow controlled. This normally involves construction of an airtight enclosure and use of specialist air pumps and filters. The operatives themselves will wear special overalls and breathing apparatus and must go through careful procedures to decontaminate themselves when leaving the enclosure.

Once asbestos has been removed it is usual to have what is called a Reassurance Air Test, which involves placing pumps that draw in air and measure the concentration of fibres present.

Unsurprisingly, all these factors mean that removal of asbestos containing materials is rarely cheap.

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