Safety procedures to dispose of Asbestos explained

| by Clinton Moore

Owing to the fact that damaged or disturbed asbestos has the potential to release harmful fibres into the air, it must be handled with extreme care and caution. Not only when it gets removed from domestic properties and commercial premises, but also during disposal as well. In the vast majority of cases, this task is carried out and managed by a professional company. Take Sperion for example, an asbestos management firm capable of providing a one-stop service and innovative solutions for all asbestos-related matters. However, it is still important to know about the rules and regulations of working with this material as well as essential safety procedures to dispose of asbestos.

Asbestos rules and regulations

Seeing as the European Commission thought that the UK had not fully implement the EU directive (directive 2009/148/EC) on exposure to asbestos, new legislation came into force on 6th April 2002. However changes included in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 were fairly limited and references to disposal stayed much the same. The regulations state, “In the majority of cases, work with asbestos needs to be done by a licensed contractor. This work includes most asbestos removal, all work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and most work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulating board (AIB).” Some non-licensed asbestos work still requires effective controls, but now needs to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority. Written records also need to be documented, while non-licensed workers must be under health surveillance by a doctor.

Defining asbestos waste

According to the Health and Safety Executive, any asbestos product or material that is ready for disposal can be defined as asbestos waste. This may also include contaminated building materials, tools that cannot be decontaminated, personal protective equipment and damp rags used for cleaning. The HSE recommends that if in doubt, treat all waste as hazardous, which is when it contains more than 0.1 per cent asbestos. However, you cannot mix asbestos waste with other waste to get below 0.1 per cent.

Removal and disposal of asbestos waste

The HSE has the following advice for the removal and disposal of asbestos waste:

  • Asbestos waste must be packed in UN-approved packaging, which should feature a CDG hazard sign and the asbestos code information visible.
  • Asbestos waste must be double-wrapped and labelled appropriately. The standard practice is to use a red inner bag with asbestos warnings and a clear outer bag with the CDG hazard sign.
  • Avoid overfilling bags and beware of sharp objects that could puncture the plastic.
  • If transporting asbestos waste, you should use a sealed skip or a vehicle with a segregated compartment for asbestos. This should be easily cleanable and lockable too. If this is not possible, arrange for transport by a registered waste carrier.
  • Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a licensed site.
  • Remember to complete a waste consignment note and keep copies of these documents for three years.

Even though these steps will enable you to safely disposal of asbestos, it is still highly recommended to enlist the services of a professional, such as Sperion.

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