Asbestos waste is classed as hazardous when it contains more than 0.1% asbestos. To be clear, asbestos waste should never be mixed with other waste to achieve a level below 0.1%.
For those who are unfamiliar with the material, it’s worth looking at why exactly it poses a risk. While it’s been around for as long as 4,500 years, asbestos use became widespread in the 1950s. It was used for several decades for a range of construction applications because of its heat- and fire-resistance, until eventually being banned in 1999.
Here’s the important bit – asbestos was banned because it releases dangerous fibres which cause potentially fatal diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. People working with asbestos were exposed to those fibres, but they can also be released when the material is damaged or disturbed.
That’s exactly why correct asbestos removal and disposal procedures are so vital. Failure to follow the guidelines can put staff and the general public at risk, with companies fined heavily for their non-compliance. In 2019, for instance, a construction company was fined over £170,000 for failing to ensure a safe, legal removal.
The first step in asbestos removal is to survey the site in question and complete a full risk management assessment. This will allow a trained contractor to identify all licensed and non-licensed asbestos and other materials before making plans for a safe removal.
The most important thing here is that most asbestos removal needs to be completed by a licenced contractor. Non-licensed work includes sporadic or low intensity asbestos, which can be removed without exceeding the legal control limit of 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air.
When it comes to removing asbestos, there are a range of approved procedures, techniques and equipment, depending on the type of materials being removed. After removal, it’s important that rigorous air quality monitoring is completed to ensure the environment is safe.
Once it’s been removed, asbestos needs to be disposed of correctly. The Health and Safety Executive sets out clear guidelines for disposing of asbestos, in line with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Firstly, any waste containing more than 0.1% asbestos should be double-wrapped and labelled. This should be done in UN-approved packaging, which includes a CDG hazard label and visible asbestos code information. The best way to do so is with a red inner bag showing asbestos warnings and a clear outer bag with the CDG hazard label.
Given that asbestos fibres are released when the material is disturbed, large pieces should not be broken up. Instead, they should be double-wrapped using 1000-gauge polythene sheeting and labelled accordingly.
When disposing of asbestos, waste should only be carried by contractors with a waste carrier’s licence. It must be transported in a fully sealed skip. Alternatively, a vehicle can be used if it meets all of the following criteria:
Finally, the asbestos should be disposed of safely using a licensed disposal site. A Waste Consignment Note will need to be completed and kept for a minimum of three years.
At Weaver Demolition, we have a wealth of experience in the safe removal and disposal of asbestos from sites throughout Devon and Cornwall. Our fully trained team can survey all licensed and non-licensed materials present before managing the entire removal and disposal for your commercial building.
If you would like to find out more about our procedures and how we can help with your project, don’t hesitate to contact our team.
Fill in the form below with your requirements and your contact details and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.