Asbestos is commonly found in bathroom fittings because it is water resistant. Most of the time, it will be found in small quantities, so the nature of the removal work is usually classified as small scale.
This work can be done by Asbestos removalists without a license, as long as the area is less than 10 square meters according to the Safe Work Australia Code of Practice, and the asbestos is non- friable. They can also remove Asbestos Containing Debris (ACD) that is not more than a minor contamination, and the area should be 10 square meters or less of non-friable asbestos. A class B license holder can also remove only non- friable asbestos, as long as the area is less than the said 10 square meters.
The minor contamination factsheet by Safe Work Australia describes ACD as dust that has settled within a workplace and is assumed to be containing asbestos. Examples include dust that has accidentally come off a wall or ceiling during removal, accumulated in a pipe, on a horizontal surface covered by an asbestos roof or on the roof gutter. Determining whether contamination is minor involves assessing the time it would take to clean up, the complexity of the work being undertaken and the size of the contaminated area among other factors. Areas of minor contamination include, holes drilled into walls or ceilings with Asbestos Containing Material and an electrical box with an ACM board mounted on it.
Even without a license, the person undertaking the removal, Asbestos removalists especially, must be trained in identifying and handling asbestos or ACD and classifying it as friable or non-friable. A course on asbestos awareness or the non- friable unit of competency can suffice as adequate training. Safety methods still have to be adhered to during the removal and replacement. A combination of the dry and wet method could be used; the dry method used where there are live wires, sockets or water heaters powered by electricity. These must be de-energized if they cannot be removed.
Just keep in mind that you need to take precaution even when you collect a sample to be sent for inspection. Professional asbestos removalists will tell you exactly what you need to do to send a sample without compromising your safety. Before you get on with the job, ensure that you read enough and do exactly what you are asked to do. An asbestos removal company comes into the picture much later. If the inspection company is good, they will ensure that you get the best contractor for asbestos removal.
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