Before industrialists realised the dangers of asbestos, it was used in constructing buildings due to the strength of its fibre. Asbestos provided a lot of stability, but people soon started noticing health issues and decided it was time to rid our spaces of this disease-causing substance. So, industrial asbestos removal services are now employed for safe removal from buildings. It is also essential to use the help of professionals since it is the process of removal itself that can pose a threat more than the presence of asbestos.
Asbestos gets into the body through the lungs, and it can cause asbestosis, a severe lung condition caused when the asbestos fibre gets into the respiratory system. It causes a persistent cough, shortness of breath, pain in the chest and shoulders, and swollen fingertips. It is a long-term condition, with symptoms appearing 20 or 30 years after long-term exposure. Also, it might be comorbid with other lung conditions such as COPD and lung cancer. Besides, the material can also cause cancers of the ovaries, colon, and stomach.
Usually, asbestos does not pose too much of a threat if left alone. But when it is damaged or disturbed, it releases dust particles into the air, which may be inhaled.
Having said that, you might think you’re safe in a building with asbestos, but chances are, you still are not. Most buildings undergo regular maintenance fixes, and this involves manipulating structural aspects of a building, which might disturb the asbestos. So to be safe, it is best to have it professionally removed. And outlined below are some steps to ensure during asbestos removal in an industrial setting:
Before the procedure begins, an expert comes onto the site for an inspection. Structures are assessed for the presence of asbestos-containing material (ACM). The ACM is then evaluated and checked whether it is liable for the damage. Other hazards, such as live wires, working heights, confined spaces and heat stress, are considered.
Those working on-site must be trained in asbestos removal and decontamination procedures. All workers should use protective equipment, namely the PPE kit, which should be worn correctly (not just for the sake of it!) at all times. This includes adequate face, nose, and mouth shields, gloves, and boots.
Remember that safety gear instructions are highly detailed. For instance, workers must be clean-shaven to allow proper sealing of the respiratory system. And if you let workers continue without following the regulations to the finest detail, you might get in trouble for it later (best to avoid it!).
Before working on the site, ensure that all the relevant paperwork has been filled out. This includes work area access permits that detail the procedure, number of workers, work duration and hours.
The site needs to be prepared by removing all the furniture, shutting off access for a few days (for safety purposes) after the industrial asbestos removal, and putting up safety signages. Likewise, consider creating a buffer zone so people can avoid the work area. Electric systems like air conditioning and vents also need to be closed, and you should cover the floor or equipment that cannot be removed with a plastic sheet for protection.
Although professionals are aware of how to ensure minimal risk, you might want to keep the following in mind:
- Asbestos must be kept wet to minimise risk, which can be done by ‘misting’.
- Tearing and ripping should be avoided, and the material should be handled carefully and not thrown about.
- Asbestos disposal must happen at a legally approved site with prior permission.