Preparing your business for undertaking Non-Licensed asbestos work
Before starting to work with asbestos there are several things you are going to want to consider and arrange in addition to your training course.
Behind the scenes, working with asbestos requires a bit of thought and planning to make sure we get it right..
Does your current business insurance provide cover for asbestos works?
Insurers are more in the know nowadays than they used to be but it is still an important check that your policy doesn’t preclude working with non-licensed asbestos. Generally, so long as the company has been trained by an accredited provider most insurers are happy to cover these works.
Have workers been face fit tested?
In addition to a training course to work on asbestos, workers are going to need to have been face fit tested for a P3 rated dust mask. If the masks are reusable, then maintenance records will need to be kept for a minimum period of 5-years. Any reputable training company will be able to offer this service on the day as part of the asbestos training.
What type of PPE is required?
It is important to ‘size-up’ workers for overalls that fit them comfortably without tearing. Asbestos overalls are Category III (Type-5) manufactured to BS EN ISO 13982-1. As a guide a person of average build and 6 feet tall would be looking at an XXL overall. These overalls are single-use.
Gloves, whilst not mandatory are certainly advisable. They should be sealed against the overall with a quality masking tape to facilitate removal.
Wellington boots or disposable over-boots are to be used. Porous leather, laces, ankle-boots are all to be avoided.
What type of packaging do we need for asbestos?
Generally, it is preferred that asbestos is not broken up to fit it into bags. This often means a mixture of packaging is required. There are two sizes of asbestos bags (600mm x 900mm and also 900mm x 1200mm) available. They come in Red and Clear and of varying qualities, look out for ‘extra’ heavy duty as these tend to be a sturdier proposition than regular ‘heavy-duty’.
If we need to package an item that won’t fit in a bags then double-wrapping in 1000-gauge polythene and labelling is required. For large items such as roof-sheets, there are specialist bags available into which several sheets can be placed.
Is there any specialist equipment required?
Some work with Non-Licensed asbestos requires the use of an asbestos rated vacuum cleaner. Typically, unless you will be doing these works regularly, it is advisable to hire them in on a per job basis.
Regardless of the source, it is vital the vacuum cleaner has been tested within the previous 6-months and has a certificate to demonstrate this. The use of and relevant standards for these class H vacuum cleaners are described in detail here.
What other equipment is required?
Fortunately, most of the equipment required for working with asbestos is fairly low cost. We’ll need a mixture of 50mm masking and gaffa tape for securing sheeting and helping to package waste, zip-ties are also useful for sealing bags up quickly.
500-gauge polythene is used to protect porous surfaces from contamination during works, this can be ordered in rolls 1m tall rather than the regular 2m which makes fitting it into vehicles easier.
A selection of pump-action water sprayers will be needed for dampening down asbestos as well as washing up liquid to be added to this water as a wetting agent.
Shaving foam and wallpaper paste can be used inside disposable cups to capture dust when drilling.
For cleaning a mixture of rags, wet-wipes and ‘blue-roll’ provide ways of easily cleaning and drying a variety of surfaces. PVA or similar is useful for sealing surfaces following clean up.
So long as any tools used are non-porous and able to be easily cleaned, there is no reason to provide separate equipment for asbestos works.
How would we transport asbestos?
It is necessary to register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer in order to transport asbestos waste, a fee of £154 is payable and this covers a period of 3-years. You can apply quickly and easily here.
Once registered, it is simply a case of making sure waste is packaged securely and segregated from other tools and equipment. Asbestos Essentials EM9 gives guidance on disposing of asbestos waste. A consignment note would be completed to accompany the waste and a copy kept for 3-years.
We are able to store up to 50cm3 of bonded asbestos, safely and securely, at our own premises for up to 3-months so long as the waste was produced by our own business activities. Principally, this enables you to pay a sensible fee at the waste disposal site once you have over the minimum charge of asbestos waste.
Alternatively, we can arrange for waste to be collected from site by a company licensed to transport asbestos.
Would my workers require an asbestos medical?
If you are a licensed asbestos contractor the answer is absolutely. However, most people looking to work with asbestos are looking at the non-licensed side of things for which, the majority of work does not require an asbestos medical.
Based on preceding flow-chart; only work that is Notifiable Non-Licensed Work (NNLW) would require an asbestos medical. A list of registered doctors able to undertake asbestos medicals is available here from the HSE.
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