How to manage asbestos cement in the home
Asbestos cement is one of the most common products found in residential homes. It is often found externally as cladding, soffits and as a roofing material, and on garages and sheds.
Making sure that asbestos cement is painted is the best way to minimise risk. The priority should then be to minimise disturbance of the material. For example, you should never use a pressure sprayer, or water blast asbestos cement, as this can cause damage and release asbestos fibre.
By keeping that protective paint layer between you and the fibres, and carefully managing any maintenance work that needs to be conducted, asbestos cement will last for years without causing a significant risk to building occupants.
If asbestos cement becomes weathered, or otherwise damaged, things are a little different, and it is worth having an assessment completed by a qualified surveyor or licensed assessor.
If you need to do minor work on asbestos cement, here are some tips to help you stay safe.
What personal protective equipment should I use?
It is worth the investment to get a mask with a good face seal and interchangeable/dual filter capabilities. A half-face mask with a P3 filter is perfect for minor work. A P2 filter is ok too but doesn’t offer the same level of protection. Other gear you will need includes type 5/6 disposable coveralls, safe working boots that can be wiped clean, and disposable gloves.
What equipment should I get for managing asbestos cement?
Keeping asbestos materials wet when working on them is an effective way to minimising risk. Use a basic handheld garden mist sprayer to keep asbestos materials wet when handling them.
If asbestos cement is broken, any pieces will need to be disposed of as asbestos waste. Asbestos waste must be double-bagged in heavy-duty polythene. This includes the coveralls and gloves you have used for doing work. Give your local landfill a ring to see if they accept hazardous waste.
If you are going to seal asbestos cement with paint, look for an alkali resistant primer, and finish off with an emulsion or gloss paint. You can also get special encapsulants designed specifically for asbestos materials.
Fibresafe NZ are a fully qualified and accredited asbestos management company based in New Zealand. We pride ourselves on our expertise in asbestos related matters, as well as our quality of service delivery. We aim to help the nation better their understanding of asbestos, and find solutions to sort their asbestos containing materials until they can be removed in a fair and pragmatic approach.
We’re proud to be accredited by IANZ, to the conformance standard ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for surveying & sampling
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