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Asbestos Inspections

The Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2011, states that any renovation or demolition work in a workplace built before December 31, 2003 now requires an Asbestos / hazardous materials audit / Survey / hazardous materials inspection”,  and this includes residential unit buildings (WHS act 2011 chapter 8).

hyperlink  what is underlined to the asbestos material survey and hazardous material survey page “asbestos

To determine if your house, site or work area, area for renovation, or even specific walls contain asbestos and would like a risk assessment to know the asbestos is posing a health risk.

If you are renovating, building, or live in a house built prior to 2004 then there is a chance you are dealing with asbestos containing materials because only in 31 December, 2003 asbestos and all products containing asbestos were been banned throughout Australia.

EnviroX consulting prides itself on providing detailed inspections to determine the presence and absence of asbestos containing materials, and to determine condition and risks of the materials inspected. Our reports have an easy to read conclusion section with key points about the inspection.

All asbestos samples are submitted to NATA accredited laboratories. The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) which is a nationally recognised accrediting body for laboratories. If you’re trying to identify asbestos, make sure testing is conducted by a NATA accredited laboratory if not testing reports may not be accepted by WorkCover, local councils, and other authorities.

Clearance Inspection

Following an asbestos removal an inspection is required or recommended to ensure the area is safe for unprotected personnel to reoccupy the area. Without an asbestos clearance inspection it is unknown is the asbestos removal has been conducted to a satisfactory standard. All EnviroX consultants are licensed asbestos assessors and demonstrate their expertise and diligence required when dealing with a hazardous material such as asbestos for asbestos clearances.

Visual bonded asbestos clearances reports following a detailed visual inspection a clearance report will be created on site and sent to the client as to not cause a delay waiting for the report.

EnviroX uses a combination of the latest technology and techniques in science to ensure reports are delivered on time and are detailed to ensure there is no issue with authorities or clients.

Make Safe

If asbestos is found to being in poor condition potentially causing a health risk instead of removing the asbestos a make safe can be implemented (may be due to cost or time restrains for this option to be used). The report will be similar to an asbestos clearance report showing that the subject area is safe for unprotected personnel to reoccupy the area following the make safe, although generally speaking the “make safe” will be for a short period of time.

Asbestos removalist will be contracted to make an area safe as an alternative to a complete asbestos removal. This will include removing friable asbestos, sealing or encapsulating asbestos material to a satisfactory standard ensuring no loose asbestos fibres can be released into the air.

Asbestos Removal

When renovating or demolishing a building that contains asbestos, you need to ensure that asbestos removal is performed prior to the demolition of the building. Ensuring the asbestos is removed safely, efficiently and in accordance with Government codes is a legal requirement and a good idea to keep all your workers, contractors and customers safe.

EnviroX do not remove asbestos as we are an Occupational Hygienist and Environmental Consultant company, however we do work with many asbestos removalists and are able to ensure that you receive competitive prices and outstanding quality of work. High quality asbestos removalists are very important as you do not want an asbestos removalist that will cut corners and potentially put you, your family, your workers or anyone at risk of exposure to asbestos.

As we work in the industry we know which asbestos removalists and good and which aren’t. EnviroX recommends asbestos clearance reports following any asbestos removal as it ensures a high quality job has been completed and there is no risk to reoccupy the area without protective equipment.

The cost of asbestos removal can vary widely between contractors when asbestos remvoalists are contracted through EnviroX are chosen due to competency and value for money. However, we strongly discourage anyone from engaging low cost asbestos removal companies that you might find due to the quality of works and appropriate licensing.

Friable asbestos removal

Friable asbestos can be classified in many different ways, asbestos containing debris smaller than 7mm, able to be crushed under hand pressure or in powder form. It’s the most dangerous state of asbestos because it’s able to release asbestos fibres into the air which can in turn be inhaled into the lungs causing health effects.

Due to the high risk works when dealing with friable asbestos Workcover requires a special license for its removal. A Class A licensed asbestos removalist is allowed to remove bonded and friable asbestos materials. Class B licensed asbestos removalist is only permitted to remove bonded asbestos.

To classify is an area is bonded or friable can be quite difficult as it is not always so obvious. Bonded asbestos can become friable asbestos through multiple ways, weathering through time or damaged (smashed bonded asbestos sheeting is often friable due to the definitions above). Instead of having to determine if asbestos is friable or non-friable its wiser to contact an occupational hygienist to conduct an asbestos inspection and risk assessment prior to removal works.

Do it yourself asbestos removal (DIY)

Asbestos removal doesn’t legally require a license if:

  • less than 10m2of asbestos or asbestos-containing material is being removed
  • the asbestos being removed is bonded and not friable
  • not a commercial building or within a workplace

If you have a small amount of bonded asbestos you may be tempted to conduct the removal yourself or hire a cheap unlicensed removalist.  EnviroX highly discourages this for the reason that if you are not trained in asbestos you should not be working with it. A small exposure could impact not only your life and quality of life but of those around you.

Asbestos Air Monitoring during asbestos removal

Asbestos air monitoring is required during friable asbestos removal and is recommended during all asbestos removals greater than 10m2 as well as if the area is adjacent to a public location. As per the Codes of Practice – How To Safely Remove Asbestos

Link underlined asbestos air monitoring to asbestos air monitoring page

Asbestos Air Monitoring

Air monitoring involves sampling airborne asbestos fibres to assist in assessing exposure to asbestos and the effectiveness of implemented control measures. It must be conducted in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Dust, 2nd Edition [NOHSC: 3003 (2005)].

WHEN IS AIR MONITORING REQUIRED?

Air monitoring requirements will vary depending on the type of asbestos being removed, the location and position of the asbestos, if an enclosure is used and whether the asbestos removal work is within a building or outside. „

Friable asbestos removal – Air monitoring is mandatory for all friable asbestos removal. This includes prior to dismantling an enclosure and for the purposes of the clearance inspection. „

More than 10 m2 of non-friable asbestos removal – Air monitoring is not required but may be considered to be carried out by an independent licensed asbestos assessor or competent person to ensure compliance with the duty to eliminate or minimise exposure to airborne asbestos and to ensure the exposure standard is not exceeded. „

Public Location – Air monitoring should be considered where the asbestos removal work is being undertaken in or next to a public location. „

Exposure air monitoring – Air monitoring should be carried out at other times to determine a worker’s exposure to airborne asbestos if, based on reasonable grounds, there is uncertainty as to whether the exposure standard may be exceeded and a risk assessment by a competent person indicates it is necessary. Since most uses of asbestos are prohibited, exposure monitoring should not be required frequently

As per the codes of practice – how to remove asbestos safely How to Safely Remove Asbestos Code of Practice [PDF]

Asbestos air monitoring is use to assure the asbestos removal is being done safely ensuring no asbestos contamination is spreading outside of the work area during the asbestos removal. Asbestos air monitoring following removal works (clearance monitoring) is to ensure the area is safe to reoccupy following the removal works.

Asbestos and Hazardous material surveys

The Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2011, states that any renovation or demolition work in a workplace built before December 31, 2003 now requires an Asbestos / hazardous materials audit / Survey / hazardous materials inspection”,  and this includes residential unit buildings (WHS act 2011 chapter 8).

Hazardous Material Survey

EnviroX hazardous material surveys include contaminates such as

  • Asbestos
  • Lead in paint and dust
  • Synthetic mineral fibres
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl’s

Following the Hazardous Material Survey all the samples will be submitted to a NATA accredited laboratory. Once the samples have been received a report will be created, this report will include a register (able to be sent in excel form for updates). The register will include all hazardous materials which are present within the site. This report is a fully detailed report on the hazardous building materials within the building/s.

Relevant legislation

  • Work Health And Safety Regulation 2011.
  • Work Health And Safety Act 2011.
  • AS2601 (2001) The Demolition of Structures.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos.
  • Code of Practice for Synthetic Mineral Fibres [NOHSC:2006(1990)].
  • 1 (1995) Guide to Lead Paint Management. Part 1: Industrial Applications.
  • 2 (1998) Guide to Lead Paint Management. Part 2: Residential and Commercial Buildings.
  • ANZECC (1997) Identification of PCB-containing Capacitors: An Information Booklet for Electricians and Electrical Contractors.

Asbestos Material Survey / Asbestos audit

Over the past years there has been an increase in public awareness concern in relation to asbestos which has shown the need for businesses to be on top of their Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare requirements. All owners of buildings built prior to 31 December 2003 must have an asbestos register to ensure that all buildings to comply with regulations and are not exposing employees to asbestos.

Prior to any demolition or refurbishment work starting an asbestos survey (asbestos register) is required (as per the WHS act 2011). The asbestos register must be reviewed and it be ensured that all asbestos that is likely to be disturbed is identified and removed so far as is reasonably practicable.

Similar to the Hazardous material survey all asbestos samples will be submitted to a NATA accredited laboratory. Once the samples have been received a report will be created, this report will include a register (able to be sent in excel form for updates). The asbestos register will include all known asbestos materials which are present within the site. This report is a fully detailed report on the asbestos materials within the building/s.

EnviroX prides itself on providing detailed asbestos material surveys and registers. EnviroX’s licensed asbestos assessors have years of experience in creating asbestos registers and asbestos material surveys ensuring that they will be accepted by authorities and clients.

Who required asbestos registers?

You may be legally required to create an asbestos register if you are a:

  • Premises owner or occupier
  • Landlord
  • Employer
  • Manager
  • Other representative with responsibility for workplace repairs or alterations

An asbestos register will not be required if you meet the following;

  • The building has an asbestos survey and no asbestos was identified, or
  • The building was constructed after 31 December 2003 (as no asbestos was legally allowed to be installed following this date)

If any asbestos has been identified at your workplace, you are required to have an asbestos register and management plan in place.

Asbestos registers include;

  • Location of asbestos
  • Type of asbestos
  • Classification of asbestos (Bonded or Friable)
  • Condition of asbestos material
  • Recommendations on management and removal of asbestos

Relevant asbestos register legislation

  • Work Health And Safety Regulation 2011.
  • Work Health And Safety Act 2011.
  • AS2601 (2001) The Demolition of Structures.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos.
  • Code of Practice for the Safe Removal of Asbestos 2nd Edition.

Lead Inspection                               

Lead is a metal obtained from mining lead ore, which is used in a number of forms including pure metal, alloys (mixtures of metals) and as lead compounds. It has many uses including vehicle batteries, solder, paint pigments, as a stabiliser to protect plastic from sun damage and use to be used in fuels for cars and industry.

Lead can be inhaled through dust or fumes or swallowed through eating contaminated food or smoking with contaminated fingers. Untreated lead poisoning in adults, children and pets can be fatal. Often pets are the first to show signs of lead poisoning.

Common symptoms of lead poisoning are:

  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of weight
  • severe abdominal pains
  • muscle weakness
  • limb paralysis
  • headaches
  • tiredness

Continued exposure or high levels of exposure can cause:

  • anaemia
  • kidney damage
  • nerve and brain damage.

Lead paint inspection

If you are worried that your house contains lead paint then rather than risk the exposure engage EnviroX consulting to conduct an inspection to determine if the paint contains lead.  During the inspection EnviroX will collect samples from the areas of concern (may be entire house or building) and create a report with conclusions and recommendations for the management of the lead paint contaminants within your home.

Lead dust inspection

When lead was used in industry and fuels there was a large concentrations of lead within the atmosphere. Over many years this lead has settled and the most common place for the lead dust to settle without being cleaned for many years is ceiling spaces. High lead dust concentrations are common within houses or buildings that are over 30 years old, especially if the ceiling space has not been disturbed for the entire time.

A lead dust inspection will comprise of an Occupational Hygienist attending the site and collecting a sample (multiple is required) to determine if there are elevated lead dust concentrations. Most common place for the inspection to occur is ceiling spaces however it is not limited to only this area. Once the sample/s has been analysed a report will be created stating recommendations and conclusions of the subject area.

Lead removalists can be engaged through EnviroX as this will ensure that they have all the appropriate licenses, cost effective and high quality of work.

Mould Inspections and clearances

The medical community accepts that inhalation of mould spores and mould material (fragments of mould bodies) can trigger allergic reactions in sensitized individuals but the health issues associated with indoor mould and bacterial in damp buildings are real and greater than just allergenic reactions.

There are many diseases linked with mould such as

  • Immune deficiencies
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Respiratory problems
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease

Generally mould will occur following an event such as a storm, burst pipe, leaking, prolonged dampness ect..

If signs of mould such as smell and visible signs of staining occur EnviroX recommends a mould inspection to determine the health risks associated with the microbiological infection. A Microbiological Inspection will asses multiple factors by collecting moisture readings, surface samples and air samples. From this criteria EnviroX will come up with conclusions and recommendations that fit the site.

Microbiological Clearance Report

Following mould remediation and removal EnviroX recommends a Microbiological Clearance inspection (VERY IMPORTANT). This clearance inspection will determine if the mould removalist/ restorers have completed their job to a satisfactory standard. This can be very difficult to assess without samples as mould contamination that may cause a health risk can be invisible to the naked eye.  Very often a consultant will attend a site and the area can appear to be clean with no odour and then high results are returned from the sampling which states that a health risk may develop if left unmanaged.

Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality Monitoring

There is often no single factor that determines the quality of indoor air in an office space. The indoor air quality of a building is a complexity of factors that influence the link to human health effects. Concentrations of indoor air pollutants are influenced by changes in activities both within and outside the buildings, cleaning, heating and renovation regimes, the degree of ventilation, and the presence of products that are hazardous (including asbestos) or emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Typical contaminates EnviroX sample for pending on the site and what is likely to affect the site include but not limited to:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Nitric oxide (NO)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Asbestos
  • Respirable dust (PM10, 4, 2.5)
  • Mould and fungi air monitoring
  • Total dust
  • Metals in Dust (such as Lead)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde
  • Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)
  • Ozone

Relevant legislation

  • Work Health And Safety Regulation 2011.
  • Work Health And Safety Act 2011.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace.
  • NSW Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos..
  • Australian Standard AS4361.2 1998 Guide to Lead Paint Management Part 2: Residential & Commercial Buildings
  • AS 2985-2009 Workplace atmospheres – method for sampling and gravimetric determination of respirable dust
  • AS 3640-2009 Workplace atmospheres – method for sampling and gravimetric determination of inhalable dust.
  • Dust samples are tested as per the Workcover NSW Chemical analysis branch handbook (8th edition).
  • Elemental Carbon (Diesel particulate) Method 5040.
  • Exposure Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment” (NOHSC: 3008 – 1995), 1995;
  • Guidance on the Interpretation of Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants, Safe Work Australia, April 2012

Waste Classification

EnviroX is able to provide soil testing to classify soil material (waste) into one of 6 categories. If you have generated material within your site (generally through excavation) then this material is required to be tested prior to sending it to a landfill. All EnviroX waste classification reports are in accordance with NSW EPA requirements and the NSW DECCW Waste Classification Guidelines.The following classes of waste are defined in clause 49 of Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act):

  • Special waste
  • Liquid waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Restricted solid waste
  • General solid waste (putrescible)
  • General solid waste (non-putrescible).

Refer to the following link for details on the different types of classifications

http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/wasteregulation/140796-classify-waste.pdf

Conducting the correct testing can be crucial as incorrect sampling and reporting can lead to increased charges at the licensed land fill, not accepted due to the report at the land fill, incorrect classification leading to increased costs. EnviroX’s consultants have years of experience with Waste Classifications and ensuring the most cost effective solution is given to our clients and there will be no issues when taking the material to the land fill due to sampling or reporting.

Many exemptions also exist where the material is not required to be classified as waste but can fall into an exemption (substantially reduce costs of removal). Some exemptions include;

Excavated Natural Material exemption 2014
Recovered aggregate 2014
Recovered railway ballast 2014
Recovered plasterboard exemption 2014
The continuous process recovered fines exemption 2014

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