The asbestos abatement process is one that must be followed closely by a licensed abatement contractor. Exposure to asbestos is very hazardous and while there are no immediate side effects from exposure, a condition like lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma can develop as much as 50 years later.
Before asbestos removal can begin, the area being abated must be prepared so that exposure is avoided. There are numerous guidelines to follow during the abatement process and proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials is strictly enforced.
Here is a checklist of the precautionary steps that need to be taken during the abatement process.
Prepare the area – Preparation is key to prevent asbestos exposure. Here are some requirements:
- Mark the site as a hazard zone
- Seal off the area with plastic, including air vents and windows
- Remove all furniture and other objects
- Do not allow non-abatement employees to enter the area
- Install a negative pressure air machine to monitor airflow
- Have all the necessary tools needed to perform the abatement correctly and safely
Having the right equipment is everything during asbestos abatement. This includes tools, machines and clothing. When performing abatement, workers must wear suits that are:
- Worn over shoes
Anyone working in the area being abated must rinse off their clothing before exiting the room. When the project is complete, clothes should be thrown away in the proper disposal bags. Other protective gear that should be worn includes respiratory equipment, gloves, boots and goggles.
Throughout the project, asbestos-containing materials must be kept wet at all times to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. Proper ventilation systems should be used to maintain a safe environment.
The air quality of the area where abatement took place should be measured to ensure it’s safe for occupants. Once the air is clear, disposal of asbestos-containing materials is one of the most important steps. There are federal and state regulations that detail proper disposal techniques and these must be followed. Asbestos waste can be defined as:
- Asbestos products
- Contaminated materials
- Tools that cannot be cleaned
- Protective equipment that can’t be cleaned
- Rags used for any reason
All asbestos-containing waste should be handled by a licensed asbestos contractor. When securely tied in black bags, any waste must be taken to a landfill that receives asbestos. Bags containing hazardous material should be specifically labeled.
Bio: Jensen Whitmer has been writing for the Mesothelioma Center for more than three years and he has an interest in spreading awareness about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure.