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ASBESTOS

 

 

What is Asbestos?

 

Asbestos is a versatile product, which withstands heat, erosion, decay and has fire and water resistant properties.

 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that can cause lung diseases, including cancer if inhaled. Asbestos was used widely in the construction industry during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and also in shipyards, power stations, boilermakers and plumbing.

The two types of asbestos are:

 

Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder, or can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.

Bonded asbestos is produced when asbestos fibres are bonded to another material, such as cement or resin binder. It cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.


Where do you find asbestos? 

Although banned from use, it is still possible to be exposed to asbestos. About one third of homes, schools and hospitals built between 1945 and 1980 used asbestos containing products in walls, ceilings, eaves, kitchens, bathrooms, vinyl floor tiles and garages. Undisturbed, asbestos-containing products are safe because the asbestos fibres are bound together in a solid matrix. But, if cut, drilled, sanded or otherwise machined, these products release asbestos fibres into the air.

Given that any board-building material over 20 years old could potentially contain asbestos, it is essential to identify asbestos-containing products before renovation or demolition. To be sure, contact a licensed asbestos removal consultant. Friable asbestos can be found in old boiler and pipe insulation, sprayed insulation material and fire rated doors.

Bonded asbestos can be found in cement sheets and pipes for construction, casing for water and electrical/telecommunication services, and vinyl floor tiles. Only fibro products made before 1987 contain asbestos.

 

The most accurate way to find out if your material contains asbestos is for experienced people to inspect and test it. You cannot tell by looking at it.

 

For further information, read the fact sheet or the guide,

 Working with asbestos.  

 Asbestos Disposal Policy

 

 
Health Effects of Asbestos 

 

Significant health risks may arise from the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibres.

Asbestosis is a chronic chest disease that is caused by inhalation of high concentrations of asbestos fibres. The condition can develop 10 to 20 years after initial exposure. Asbestos fibres initially damage cell membranes in the lungs and, as a result, the lung tissue becomes hardened and scars. Shortness of breath after exercise is usually the first symptom of asbestosis. Other symptoms include persistent coughing, chest pain, phlegm, lung infections, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. Early abnormalities of asbestosis are difficult to detect in a lung X-ray, however, as the disease progresses the X-ray is characterised by a cloudy, ground glass appearance.

Lung cancer of the bronchial tubes, lungs and alveoli can develop after exposure to asbestos. Those who have been exposed to asbestos and who have smoked run a much greater risk of getting lung cancer.  An irritative cough with increasing sputum is the first symptom of lung cancer, followed by blood-tinged sputum, coughing up blood, chest pains and chest infections.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining. It can result from low-level exposure to asbestos and can take 30 to 45 years to develop after initial exposure. It is an aggressive and painful cancer, and sufferers rarely live longer than 12 to 18 months.  A dull, aching chest pain and shortness of breath are the early symptoms, followed by abdominal pain, abdominal swelling and loss of weight.

 http://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/ 

 http://www.asbestos.com

http://www.mesotheliomaclinic.org

 

 

Legal Requirements for Managing Asbestos Waste

 

Revised regulatory requirements for managing asbestos waste commenced on 28 April 2008. These amendments were made under the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Scheduled Activities and Waste) Regulation 2008, following significant consultation with industry and the broader community in 2007.

The handling and storage of asbestos waste at worksites is regulated solely by WorkCover NSW under the current provisions of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2001.

The storage, disposal and transport of asbestos waste at non-worksites is regulated by DECCW and councils where they are the appropriate regulatory authority (ARA) under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 as follows:

  • Waste must be stored on the premises in an environmentally safe manner
  • Bonded asbestos material must be securely packaged at all times
  • Friable asbestos material must be kept in a sealed container
  • Asbestos-contaminated soils must be wetted down
  • All asbestos waste must be transported in a covered, leak-proof vehicle
  • Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that can lawfully receive this waste
  • It is illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins
  • It is also illegal to re-use, recycle or illegally dump asbestos products
  • A Work-Cover licensed company/person must carry out all work 10 square metres and over.
  • A Work-Cover licensed friable asbestos removalist must always carry out the removal of friable asbestos. A site specific permit from Work-Cover must be obtained to carry out this type of work

 

Guidance on asbestos management in the home is provided at www.nsw.gov.au/fibro and www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

 

 

Working With and Removing Asbestos Products

All work procedures involving asbestos should be devised to minimise the release of dust and fibres. The safety precautions you should take when working with or removing these products include:

  • Work-Cover licensed company/person must carry out all work 10 square metres and over.
  • A Work-Cover licensed friable asbestos removalist must always carry out the removal of friable asbestos. A site specific permit from Work-Cover must be obtained to carry out this type of work
  • Prior to the commencement of any work, occupants of all adjoining premises are to be advised so that appropriate measures can be taken to avoid exposure
  • Close all windows and doors of houses and similar buildings. In factory type buildings where there are no ceilings, the area below or adjacent to the work should be roped off or barriers erected
  • Wear disposable coveralls and an approved dust respirator
  • Do not use power tools (other than drills for the removal of the roofing screws)
  • Do not waterblast or scrub with a stiff broom. It is illegal to waterblast asbestos-cement products
  • Seal asbestos cement sheets with PVA paint or wet with water – seal roof with PVA paint well before removal so workers do not slip on a wet roof 
  • Wet down material to reduce the release of dust. High water pressure must not be used
  • Wet clean gutters and collect the material for proper disposal
  • Never cut into a fibro sheet. Always remove the entire sheet and replace with a non-asbestos product
  • Do not drop asbestos sheets. Use drop sheets to collect any accidental breakages
  • Clean all asbestos cement residues from the roof space, where applicable, and the site, using an approved vacuum cleaner or wet methods. Do not use household vacuum cleaners
  • Do not reuse asbestos cement products. The use of asbestos is now illegal
  • All asbestos waste must be wet removed from the site as soon as possible,sealed using appropriate plastic or leak proof containers. Stored/transported in labelled, plastic-lined bins that are covered, or leak-proof containers that are covered
  • The waste must be disposed of at a Waste Management Centre approved by the NSW Environment Protection Authority
  • Overalls and masks must be placed in a plastic bag for disposal. 
      
      A WorkCover licensed company must carry out all work 10 square metres and over.

Disposal Requirements

 

The most accurate way to find out if your fibro contains asbestos is for experienced people to inspect and test it. You cannot tell by looking at it. Details of asbestos testing authorities and licensed asbestos removal contractors are available from Work-Cover’s Asbestos and Demolition Unit on telephone number 131 050 or (02) 9370 5301.

 

Moree Plains Shire Council requires the disposal of asbestos material to meet the disposal standards as required by NSW Workcover Authority and Environment Protection Authority legislation - all asbestos material is to be sealed in appropriate wrapping and clearly marked “Asbestos” and disposed of at Moree Landfill, where we are licensed to accept it. Always contact the landfill beforehand to notify the details of delivering asbestos to the landfill.

 

Ensure asbestos waste has been wetted and sealed in heavy duty plastic prior to transportation to Moree Waste Management Facility.

 


Council will NOT accept any asbestos material which is not delivered in the approved manner.

Unless laboratory results are provided, Asbestos material is identified by the discretion of Council’s Landfill Operator.

 

Asbestos removal bags are available at Moree Landfill

 

Asbestos waste is to be promptly disposed of to a landfill site licensed to accept it.  It is illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins.  It is also illegal to recycle, re-use or illegally dump asbestos products.

 

In the WorkCover “Working with Asbestos” 2008 Guidelines, the following is required

 

COLLECTION AND STORAGE

All bonded asbestos waste must be:

• kept damp (prevent runoff water)

• collected, labelled and sealed using appropriate plastic or leak proof containers
• stored in labelled, plastic-lined bins that are covered, or leak-proof containers that are covered

• placed in bins or trucks that are large enough to contain full sheets without breaking them

• stored in a secure area

• removed from the site as soon as practicable

 

All friable asbestos material must be:

• kept damp or sealed with PVA glue

• collected and sealed in 200-micron thick, appropriately labelled, plastic bags

• double wrapped in 200-micron thick plastic bags

• in bags that weigh not more than 25 kilograms, and are less than half full

• stored in a secure area, awaiting removal

• removed from the site as soon as practicable.

The DECC allows transport of asbestos contaminated soil in unlined bulk trucks, provided the soil is kept damp, the load is securely locked and covered with plastic and a fully protective tarp, and the truck is decontaminated before it leaves the waste facility.

 

TRANSPORTATION

All asbestos waste must be transported in a covered leak-proof vehicle and:

• not mixed with general building waste

• not taken to a waste facility for recycling.

Only vehicles licensed by the DECC can transport friable asbestos waste in the metropolitan area.

 

DISPOSAL

  • Asbestos waste in any form must be disposed of in a manner approved by DECC and at a waste facility licensed by the DECC to accept asbestos waste.
  • NSW licensed landfills that accept asbestos waste from the public are listed by region on the DECC website.
  •  Vehicles and their containers must be cleaned before leaving the waste facility.
 
To demonstrate proof of proper disposal, copies of asbestos waste disposal receipts are to be kept for inspection by WorkCover, the DECC or the local council.
 
Information on safe removal practices for asbestos is available at:

Council’s Demolition Requirements

Development Approval must be obtained from Council for demolition work (other than demolition permitted under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Details of the proposed demolition works, including method and disposal of waste, are to be provided with the Development Application.

 

The provisions of removal of asbestos are that a Work-Cover license is required to remove more than 10 m2 of bonded asbestos.  If the asbestos material is under this amount, then a license is not required however precautions are still required to be undertaken to ensure the safe removal of bonded asbestos.

 

A Work-Cover licensed friable asbestos removalist must always carry out the removal of friable asbestos.  A site specific permit from Work-Cover must be obtained to carry out this type of work.

 

There are special conditions of development consent imposed by Moree Plains Shire Council for demolition, renovation, re-cladding or brick veneering buildings erected before 1987 due to the possibility of asbestos. This is to ensure the safety of workers and neighbouring residents.

 

Asbestos waste is to be promptly disposed of to a landfill site licensed to accept it.  It is illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins.  It is also illegal to recycle, re-use or illegally dump asbestos products.

 

Should a person not comply with the terms of the Consent then there is a range of actions that could be taken to enforce compliance and these include issue of directions on the site, the service of Orders, the issue of a Penalty Infringement Notice (on-the-spot fine), or the launching of prosecution proceedings in the appropriate court.

 

If you are concerned about how asbestos is being handled contact Council’s Planning & Development Department on
Ph: 02 6757 3222

 

Further Information

 

Further information can be obtained from:

  • WorkCover Authority of New South Wales - Asbestos
  • Think Asbestos
  • Fibro & Asbestos - A Renovators and Homeowners Guide
  • Handling and Disposal of Fibrous Cement Products

 www.australianasbestosnetwork.org.au 
 http://www.adfa.org.au/
 http://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/

 
 

For further information contact Council’s Water & Waste Department 
(02) 6757 3222

 


 

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