Prior to engaging yourself with any work, including asbestos materials, you have to consider the scope as well as the nature of the work, and your capability to complete the assignment effectively. If the task appears complex, or more than your handling abilities, employ a qualified person. However, if you choose to proceed yourself, ensure you evaluate the accurate number of sessions needed to complete the work. Consequently, you should then acquire adequate, appropriate equipment to do the work. All the equipment, together with the personal protective equipment should be accessible from most hardware and safety equipment dealers.
If you are working on maintenance, such as painting or sealing on asbestos cement surfaces without polishing, drilling or cutting, that is, you are not discharging any asbestos fibers into the air, you only need to take the common precautions for undertakings, such as operating in a ventilated space.
However, if you strategize to get in the way of materials that might have asbestos through polishing, drilling or cutting, it is vital to take the appropriate precautions while using asbestos to avoid jeopardizing not only your health, but also that of your family and neighbors. The following DOs and DON’Ts will assist you go through this carefully.
The most important thing to do is wearing the proper personal protective clothing and equipment to safeguard your body. Then you should regularly wet down the material before you begin the work and lightly spray the surfaces with water. When working indoors, isolate the area you are working on from the rest of the building by closing and sealing internal doors. Then leave external doors and windows open to maximize ventilation. You should also cover the floor with heavy-duty plastic sheet to catch dust, fragments and offcuts. Finally, keep family members, guests and animals away from the space until you complete the work.
On the other hand, you should not use high-pressure water jets to wet surfaces since this might increase the spread of loose fibers or dust. Again, you should not slip one sheet over the surface of a different one since it may graze the exterior of the materials, and intensify the possibility of the release of fibers and dust. Furthermore, you should not use power tools, rough cutting or polishing discs or compressed air on asbestos cement because they will bring about airborne dust and rubbish. It is not advisable to dry sand, wire brush or scrape the surfaces that need painting. This precaution goes together with the fact that you should not walk on grooved asbestos cement roofs if at all you can avoid them. This is because a number of individuals have injured themselves by tumbling through worn asbestos cement roofs while trying to treat, renovate, or mend the roof surface. Finally, you should never leave asbestos cement products around the garden, or near places that they may be broken or crushed.
One thing to note is that for the removal of any friable asbestos, a licensed removalist must undertake the task to remove more than 10 square meters of non-friable asbestos in a workplace.