When asbestos is believed to be present in a particular location, all the necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that it is safely tested and handled according to the standards outlined in the Australian jurisdiction.
In many instances, homeowners, business owners, ship owners or anyone who controls or manages areas with asbestos containing materials do not have the necessary knowledge or certification. As such, they are encouraged not to undertake any duties associated with removing, classifying, or cleaning.
To adequately evaluate asbestos in any given area, the competent person must determine whether asbestos is actually at the location. Sometimes, this is not possible at the first visit and it may be necessary to remove test samples to determine the type and nature of the asbestos. Once this is done, the next steps involved are:
A qualified asbestos assessor will determine the risk levels involved given the condition of the asbestos. It is, therefore, important to highlight any changes that took place in the past and any that you intend to make in the future. The type of asbestos assessor you hire will depend on the type of asbestos and the area to be evaluated.
The number of asbestos fibres per millilitre is determined by laboratory tests. An experienced occupational hygienist is required to gather the necessary samples and send them to a National Association of Tested Authorities accredited lab. When the number of asbestos fibres is determined to be less than 0.01fibres/mL, then it is considered cleared. The competent person hired to perform asbestos air sampling will determine the frequency and locations of the materials, and if additional sampling is needed.
Asbestos removal is a very delicate procedure that requires in-depth study from different angles. Only an asbestos removalist should be hired to undertake the task of removing asbestos from any given area. This competent professional must determine the asbestos removal boundaries where necessary. In addition to this, the necessary security, signs, and barriers should be arranged to prevent exposure and inform who might be affected by these operations. When necessary, air sampling should be performed after removal.
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Every Australian workplace must have an asbestos audit to identify potential problems, and every workplace constructed prior to 2004 must also have an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan to control any asbestos and promote a healthier environment.
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