What is Asbestos Sprayed Coating?
Asbestos sprayed coating is an insulation material used to prevent torsion and collapsing of structural elements in case of fire. It was also applied for thermal insulation, condensation control, and sound absorption. The technique of using sprayed coating has been recorded to have developed in Britain around 1931. It was typically made of around 55-85% asbestos with a Portland cement binder, and applied using a spray gun to the ceilings and steel beams of industrial buildings. But it can also be found in large commercial or recreational buildings. Asbestos sprayed coatings usually contain mostly amosite (grey/brown) and chrysotile (white) asbestos, but often include crocidolite (blue) also. So all three main asbestos types can be present in the material.
Asbestos Sprayed Coating Removal
Asbestos sprayed coating is considered one of the most dangerous asbestos materials out there. It may not be made of 100% asbestos like asbestos ropes and fabrics, but it’s the high friability and uncontrollability of the material when disturbed which makes it known as the worst of the worst. Removal of asbestos sprayed coatings is a highly hazardous, complex and expensive process. Because of the high danger this material poses to anyone who slightly disturbs it, any asbestos removal workers must have their levels of exposure adequately monitored and controlled by the PCBU of the asbestos removal company.
Sometimes confused with the decorative ceiling plaster applied to the ceilings of domestic houses, this material is a whole different ball game. It is often very difficult to clean up as it is fluffy, sticky and seems to go everywhere inside a controlled enclosure no matter what you do. That is why the removal of sprayed coating requires stringent controls planned out before removal begins.
Sprayed coating removal requires an A Class removal license. The Negative Pressure Unit and Decontamination Unit will need those regular checks, and a licensed asbestos assessor must also conduct air monitoring throughout the removal.
Personal Protective Equipment should always be the last line of defense after all other control measures are put in place, but when Respiratory Protection is considered, a half mask with an assigned protection factor of 20 is hardly going to cut it for the workers removing asbestos sprayed coating. They’re going to need something much better for protecting their lungs. Ideally they should use a full-face mask that provides powered air or be connected to a positive pressure air adduction line. Personal Air Monitoring is a good way to ensure workers are adequately protected during the asbestos removal. Without the proper respiratory gear while working with this particularly dangerous material, their lungs can be exposed to fibres by up to thousands by the end of the job.
Tips for easier sprayed coating removal
We at Fibresafe NZ have been involved with conducting the four stage clearances for a lot of sprayed coating removals and we’ve seen them done well, but we’ve also stuck it out with the odd job where it’s been a struggle for the removal team to reach the finish line and be able to call the job done. So here are some tips to consider putting in an asbestos removal control plan or bringing up during your toolbox talk so that you can avoid those high air monitoring results.
- Check for over-spray around the removal area before you set up the enclosure
- Make sure you’ve considered all control measures, like using the Hazardous Class Vacuum and shadow vacuuming while scraping and the wetting technique
- Work slowly and methodically to make sure the fibres don’t get too out of control
- Consider encapsulating the product thoroughly before removing it to aid the control of fibres being released
- Make sure you’ve got full hygiene facilities sorted
- Higher levels of PPE are needed so make sure to check those APFs and Exposure Limits
- Make sure to check your workmates have their PPE on right and are adequately protected
- Work closely with the licensed asbestos assessor so problems can be avoided, communicated or resolved quickly
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 and sampling
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