Australia ranked second around the world with the most number of deaths caused by Mesothelioma. This is a rare kind of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. According to experts, the number of deaths caused by Mesothelioma will reach up to 25,000 for the next forty years. This is concerning the high volume usage of asbestos in the past decades.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is one of the most common, natural rock-forming minerals. It is comprised of microscopic fibrils that can be released in the atmosphere through certain activities and can be inhaled by people, which makes it dangerous (read more). When inhaled, it may scar your lungs or cause severe lung conditions and cancer like Mesothelioma.
There are six types of this mineral which include actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, chrysolite, crocidolite, and tremolite. They all belong to the family amphibole and serpentine.
In the 1920s, Australia started to manufacture asbestos-containing materials. This includes car parts, building materials (for floors, walls, ceilings, etc.). This went on until the 1990s, when asbestos was already used widely in homes and offices. However, the danger of it was exposed, so they started banning the materials in 2003.
After the realization of the dangers of the said fibrous material, together with banning, it was advised to have them removed. However, you cannot tell if the material contains asbestos by just simply looking at it. It takes an expert and experienced eye with proper training in determining.
For this reason, there are teams and companies in Australia, specifically in Melbourne, offering asbestos removal with their trained professional removers. If you are suspecting that your house, office, car, or anything that you have contained asbestos, the following are the steps or process of removal that you might find helpful.
Asbestos Removal Process
Before the removal procedure proper, here are the things that you need to do when you have suspected belongings containing the fibrous mineral.
First, treat it already as if it is asbestos-containing material, then leave it alone. As mentioned above, you will not be able to determine if it has the fibrous material unless it is labeled or you are trained to do so.
Second, seek help from an expert. There are a lot of companies with professional removalists in Melbourne. If you have no idea, check from different websites like www.bisonasbestosremovalmelbourne.com.au or other websites you can see on the internet. You may also check their contact information, so you may call them for an immediate response, especially if it’s an emergency (material needs to be checked ASAP).
You start with the request for assessment of the material if it contains harmful, fibrous material. The assessors could do this. If the assessment came out positive, that’s when you negotiate with the professional removalist or the contractors to carry out the job.
When Should We Consider It As An Emergency?
If your house is not damaged or is still looking in good condition, no need to panic, you may leave it alone. Asbestos can only be released in the air if the material was scratched, damaged, broken, or disturbed- now that’s an emergency! You need to call an expert’s help with that. So in the instance that you are planning for your “good condition material” to be renovated, then that’s the time you call for the help of professionals.
Who Are The Experts?
Before the removal of the harmful materials, it should be assessed first. This is done by trained and licensed assessors. Their work includes identification of the material, air monitoring, inspections, formulate risk assessment plan, and issuance of clearance certificates. There are different training and licenses about the removal of asbestos. They are as follows:
Asbestos Removalist License, Two Types:
- Class A
Class A License holders are allowed to work with friable asbestos or asbestos-contaminated dust. Friable ones are materials that are easily broken and damaged that wherein dangerous fibers are easily released.
- Class B
Class B License holders are allowed to work with non-friable asbestos or dust associated with the removal of non-friable materials. Non-friable materials, unlike friable ones, are more resistant to scratches, breakage, or damage, therefore, making them less likely to free toxic fibers and put the persons’ health at risk.
License holders of both Class A and Class B must take care of the following:
- They are the ones responsible for formulating a control plan before the start of removal work.
- Inform all people (employees in the case of removal works in offices) that are occupying the area where the work is to be done.
- Appoint a person in charge or a supervisor to oversee the work being carried out.
- Take care of all works from the removal up to the disposal.
- Make sure that the place is secured and no unauthorized access by using barricades and signages.
- Provide facilities for decontamination.
- Make sure to have complete tools, equipment, and proper outfit for the job (link: https://www.asbestos.vic.gov.au/in-the-home/licensed-asbestos-removalists).
While some are individually doing the job for smaller works, bigger works would need a contractor for the job.
Things You Need To Do Before And Prepare For The Removal Work
Before dealing or negotiating with the assessors and the removalists, you have to make sure that the assessor is not related to the contractor that you will be hiring to avoid conflict of interest. Also, check their licenses and permits and certificates showing completion of their training related to the job.
Before starting the removal job, make sure to secure a written contract where everything about the job is started. It should include the work plan with time frame, cleanup procedure, and all other requirements that they should have in compliance with the laws and regulations of Melbourne, Australia, with regards to the work to be done. The contract would serve as an assurance that the workers will do their job accurately and safely.
Make sure to take the asbestos-related job seriously since it may cause grave danger to your health and all the people that might be exposed to the harmful mineral.