A guide to asbestos management

Posted on: 13 November 2019

Asbestos management is an essential procedure for all properties suspected to contain asbestos-containing materials. It requires commitment at all levels from management, property owners and employees. An effective asbestos management plan includes the following:

Asbestos inventory

An asbestos inventory is necessary to identify all the materials or structures that contain asbestos. For many buildings, it is not possible to rule out the presence of asbestos on sight alone, as it may be held inside the material. This process, therefore, involves the identification of any asbestos-containing materials by sending samples of the materials to the lab. A lab test reveals the percentage of asbestos and its present condition. If a building is suspected of containing asbestos, it must be handled as a safety hazard until the lab tests confirm the suspicions.

Asbestos control plan

When a lab test reveals the presence of ACM, an asbestos control plan should be developed. An asbestos control plan aims to prevent the disruption and damage of ACMs and to ensure the health and safety of people who use the building. This plan identifies the people responsible for asbestos management, procedures to be used and the timeline of asbestos removal. It will also involve informing the building's tenants of the planned removal and labelling ACM to act as a warning.

Procedures to deal with asbestos

An asbestos management plan will include procedures to deal with asbestos removal. This part of the program will detail the type of equipment required for removal. For any removal project, a machine that creates dust should not be used, as they increase the risk of dispersal of asbestos fibres. It also details cleaning procedures for surfaces with contaminated asbestos fibres. Cleaning also requires the use of powerful equipment such as a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent dispersal of asbestos fibres.

Worker training

Training will also be useful for all tradespersons such as plumbers, electricians and labourers working near ACMs. It is essential for workers to receive asbestos management training to increase their awareness of the hazards of asbestos, identifying ACMs and instruction for safety procedures.

Specialised training is also necessary for when a repair is needed in a section containing ACM. This training involves awareness on asbestos regulations, proper work practices, the use of protective clothing such as respirators and adequate handling of asbestos.

Worker training will also involve proper removal methods. It is mandatory that all these types of exercise are conducted due to the dangerous nature of asbestos.