Safe Work Practices (Working with Asbestos)

Asbestos and PPEAPPENDIX F – RECOMMENDED SAFE WORKING PRACTICES

SAFE WORK PRACTICE 1 – DRILLING OF ACM

The drilling of asbestos cement sheeting can release asbestos fibres into the atmosphere, so precautions must be taken to protect the drill operator and other persons from exposure to these fibres. A hand drill is preferred to a battery-powered drill, because the quantity of fibres is drastically reduced if a hand drill is used.

Equipment that may be required prior to starting work (in addition to what is needed for the task)

  • A non-powered hand drill or a low-speed battery-powered drill or drilling equipment. Battery-powered drills should be fitted with local exhaust ventilation (LEV) dust control hood wherever possible. If an LEV dust control hood cannot be attached and other dust control methods such as pastes and gels are unsuitable then shadow vacuuming techniques should be used
  • Disposable cleaning rags
  • A bucket of water, or more as appropriate, and/or a misting spray bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Sealant
  • Spare PPE
  • A thickened substance such as wallpaper paste, shaving cream or hair gel
  • 200 µm plastic sheeting
  • A suitable asbestos waste container (e.g. 200 µm plastic bags or a drum, bin or skip lined with 200 µm plastic sheeting)
  • Warning signs and/or barrier tape
  • An asbestos vacuum cleaner
  • A sturdy paper, foam or thin metal cup, or similar (for work on overhead surfaces only).

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

  • Protective clothing and RPE (see AS1715, AS 1716). It is likely that a class P1 or P2 half face respirator will be adequate for this task, provided the recommended safe work procedure is followed.

 Preparing the asbestos work area

  • If the work is to be carried out at a height, appropriate precautions must be taken to prevent falls.
  • Ensure appropriately marked asbestos waste disposal bags are available.
  • Carry out the work with as few people present as possible.
  • Segregate the asbestos work area to ensure unauthorised personnel are restricted from entry (e.g. close door and/or use warning signs and/or barrier tape at all entry points). The distance for segregation should be determined by a risk assessment.
  • If drilling a roof from outside, segregate the area below.
  • If access is available to the rear of the asbestos cement, segregate this area as well as above.
  • If possible, use plastic sheeting, secured with duct tape, to cover any surface within the asbestos work area that could become contaminated.
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting.
  • Avoid working in windy environments where asbestos fibres can be redistributed.
  • If using a bucket of water, do not re soak used rags in the bucket, as this will contaminate the water. Instead, either fold the rag so a clean surface is exposed or use another rag.

Drilling vertical surfaces

  • Tape both the point to be drilled and the exit point, if accessible, with a strong adhesive tape such as duct tape to prevent the edges crumbling.
  • Cover the drill entry and exit points (if accessible) on the asbestos with a generous amount of thickened substance.
  • Drill through the paste.
  • Use damp rags to clean off the paste and debris from the wall and drill bit.
  • Dispose of the rags as asbestos waste as they will contain asbestos dust and fibres.
  • Seal the cut edges with sealant.
  • If a cable is to be passed through, insert a sleeve to protect the inner edge of the hole.

Drilling overhead horizontal surfaces

  • Mark the point to be drilled.
  • Drill a hole through the bottom of the cup.
  • Fill or line the inside of the cup with shaving cream, gel or a similar thickened
  • Put the drill bit through the hole in the cup so that the cup encloses the drill bit, and make sure the drill bit extends beyond the lip of the cup.
  • Align the drill bit with the marked point.
  • Ensure the cup is firmly held against the surface to be drilled.
  • Drill through the surface.
  • Remove the drill bit from the cup, ensuring that the cup remains firmly against the surface.
  • Remove the cup from the surface.
  • Use damp rags to clean off the paste and debris from the drill bit.
  • Dispose of the rags as asbestos waste, as they will contain asbestos dust and fibres.
  • Seal the cut edges with sealant.
  • If a cable is to be passed through, insert a sleeve to protect the inner edge of the hole

Decontaminating the asbestos work area and equipment

  • Use damp rags to clean the equipment.
  • Carefully roll or fold any plastic sheeting used to cover any surface within the asbestos work area, so as not to spill any dust or debris that has been collected.
  • If necessary, use damp rags and/or an asbestos vacuum cleaner to clean any remaining visibly contaminated sections of the asbestos work area.
  • Place debris, used rags, plastic sheeting and other waste in the asbestos waste bags/container.
  • Wet wipe the external surfaces of the asbestos waste bags/container to remove any adhering dust before they are removed from the asbestos work area.

Personal decontamination should be carried out in a designated area

  • If disposable coveralls are worn, clean the coveralls while still wearing RPE using a HEPA vacuum, damp rag or fine-water spray. RPE can be cleaned with a wet rag or cloth.
  • While still wearing PPE, remove coveralls, turning them inside-out to entrap any remaining contamination and then place them into a labelled asbestos waste bag.
  • Remove RPE. If non-disposable, inspect it to ensure it is free from contamination, clean it with a wet rag and store in a clean container. If disposable, cleaning is not required but RPE should be placed in a labelled asbestos waste bag or waste container.

Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.

Clearance procedure

  • Visually inspect the asbestos work area to make sure it has been properly cleaned.
  • Clearance air monitoring is not normally required for this task.
  • Dispose of all waste as asbestos waste.

 Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.

SAFE WORK PRACTICE 2 – SEALING, PAINTING, COATING AND CLEANING OF ASBESTOS-CEMENT PRODUCTS

These tasks should only to be carried out on asbestos that are in good condition. For this reason, the ACM should be thoroughly inspected before starting the work. There is a risk to health if the surface of asbestos cement sheeting is disturbed (e.g. from hail storms and cyclones) or if it has deteriorated as a result of aggressive environmental factors such as pollution. If it is so weathered that its surface is cracked or broken, the asbestos cement matrix may be eroded, increasing the likelihood that asbestos fibres will be released. If treatment is considered essential, a method that does not disturb the matrix should be used. Under no circumstances should asbestos cement products be water blasted or dry sanded in preparation for painting, coating or sealing.

Equipment that may be required prior to starting work (in addition to what is needed for the task)

  • Disposable cleaning rags
  • A bucket of water, or more as appropriate, and/or a misting spray bottle
  • Sealant
  • Spare PPE
  • A suitable asbestos waste container
  • Warning signs and/or barrier tape.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

  • Protective clothing and RPE (see AS1715, AS 1716). It is likely that a class P1 or P2 half face respirator will be adequate for this task, provided the recommended safe work procedure is followed. Where paint is to be applied, appropriate respiratory protection to control the paint vapours/mist must also be considered.

Preparing the asbestos work area

  • If work is being carried out at heights, precautions must be taken to prevent falls.
  • Before starting, assess the asbestos cement for damage.
  • Ensure appropriately marked asbestos waste disposal bags are available.
  • Carry out the work with as few people present as possible.
  • Segregate the asbestos work area to ensure unauthorised personnel are restricted from entry (e.g. close door and/or use warning signs and/or barrier tape at all entry points). The distance for segregation should be determined by a risk assessment.
  • If working at a height, segregate the area below.
  • If possible, use plastic sheeting secured with duct tape to cover any floor surface within the asbestos work area which could become contaminated. This will help to contain any runoff from wet sanding methods.
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting.
  • If using a bucket of water, do not re soak used rags in the bucket, as this will contaminate the water. Instead, either fold the rag so a clean surface is exposed or use another rag.
  • Never use high-pressure water cleaning methods.
  • Never prepare surfaces using dry sanding methods. Where sanding is required, you should consider removing the asbestos and replacing it with a non-asbestos product.
  • Wet sanding methods may be used to prepare the asbestos, provided precautions are taken to ensure all the runoff is captured and filtered, where possible.
  • Wipe dusty surfaces with a damp cloth.

Painting and sealing

  • When using a spray brush, never use a high-pressure spray to apply the paint.
  • When using a roller, use it lightly to avoid abrasion or other damage.

Decontaminating the asbestos work area and equipment

  • Use damp rags to clean the equipment.
  • If required, use damp rags and/or an asbestos vacuum cleaner to clean the asbestos work area.
  • Place debris, used rags, plastic sheeting and other waste in the asbestos waste bags/container.
  • Wet wipe the external surfaces of the asbestos waste bags/container to remove any adhering dust before they are removed from the asbestos work area.

Personal decontamination should be carried out in a designated area

  • If disposable coveralls are worn, clean the coveralls while still wearing RPE using a HEPA vacuum, damp rag or fine-water spray. RPE can be cleaned with a wet rag or cloth.
  • While still wearing RPE, remove coveralls, turning them inside-out to entrap any remaining contamination and then place them into a labelled asbestos waste bag.
  • Remove RPE. If non-disposable, inspect it to ensure it is free from contamination, clean it with a wet rag and store in a clean container. If disposable, cleaning is not required but RPE should be placed in a labelled asbestos waste bag or waste container.

Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.

 Clearance procedure

  • Visually inspect the asbestos work area to make sure it has been properly cleaned.
  • Clearance air monitoring is not normally required for this task.
  • Dispose of all waste as asbestos waste.

Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.

SAFE WORK PRACTICE 3 – CLEANING LEAF LITTER FROM GUTTERS OF ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFS

Equipment that may be required prior to starting work (in addition to what is needed for the task)

  • A bucket of water, or more as appropriate, and detergent
  • A watering can or garden spray
  • A hand trowel or scoop
  • Disposable cleaning rags
  • A suitable asbestos waste container
  • Warning signs and/or barrier tape
  • An asbestos vacuum cleaner.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

  • Protective clothing and RPE (see AS1715, AS 1716). It is likely that a class P1 or P2 half face respirator will be adequate for this task, provided the recommended safe work procedure is followed.

 Preparing the asbestos work area

  • Since the work is to be carried out at a height, appropriate precautions must be taken to prevent the risk of falls.
  • Ensure appropriately marked asbestos waste disposal containers are available.
  • Segregate the asbestos work area to ensure unauthorised personnel are restricted from entry (e.g. use warning signs and/or barrier tape at all entry points). The distance for segregation should be determined by a risk assessment.
  • Segregate the area below.
  • Avoid working in windy environments where asbestos fibres can be redistributed.
  • If using a bucket of water, do not re soak used rags in the bucket as this will contaminate the water. Instead, either fold the rag so a clean surface is exposed or use another rag.

Gutter cleaning

  • Disconnect or re-route the down-pipes to prevent any entry of contaminated water into the waste water system and ensure there is a suitable container to collect contaminated runoff. Contaminated water must be disposed of as asbestos waste.
  • Mix the water and detergent.
  • Using the watering can or garden spray, pour the water and detergent mixture into the gutter but avoid over-wetting as this will create a slurry.
  • Remove the debris using a scoop or trowel. Do not allow debris or slurry to enter the water system.
  • Wet the debris again if dry material is uncovered.
  • Place the removed debris straight into the asbestos waste container.

Decontaminating the asbestos work area and equipment

  • Use damp rags to wipe down all equipment used.
  • Use damp rags to wipe down the guttering.
  • Where practicable, and if necessary, use an asbestos vacuum cleaner to vacuum the area below.
  • Place debris, used rags and other waste in the asbestos waste container.
  • Wet wipe the external surfaces of the asbestos waste container to remove any adhering dust before it is removed from the asbestos work area.

Personal decontamination should be carried out in a designated area

  • If disposable coveralls are worn, clean the coveralls while still wearing RPE using a HEPA vacuum, damp rag or fine-water spray. RPE can be cleaned with a wet rag or cloth.
  • While still wearing RPE, remove coveralls, turning them inside-out to entrap any remaining contamination and then place them into a labelled asbestos waste bag.
  • Remove RPE. If non-disposable, inspect it to ensure it is free from contamination, clean it with a wet rag and store in a clean container. If disposable, cleaning is not required but RPE should be placed in a labelled asbestos waste bag or waste container.

Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.

Clearance procedure

  • Visually inspect the asbestos work area to make sure it has been properly cleaned.
  • Clearance air monitoring is not normally required for this task.
  • Dispose of all waste as asbestos waste.

Refer to the Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos for more information.