Do you have a demolition, de-construction, or renovation project in the works? With many buildings in BC, your structure may contain asbestos. Left alone, asbestos fibres pose no health hazard. If, however, it gets damaged, the building material can aerosolize, exposing occupants or workers to potential health risks. While all demolition projects have some risk, due to the placement and composition, some projects are classified as high-risk asbestos abatement.
Asbestos airborne particulates have been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma—serious diseases caused by working around this toxic material. So, if you are planning on doing any renovation or remodelling work on a building and suspect it has asbestos, have it tested and remediated by a professional to mitigate the risks of exposure.
Here is what you need to know about high-risk asbestos abatement.
According to Worksafe BC: “high-risk work activity“ means a work activity that involves working with or in proximity to asbestos-containing material if a high level of control is necessary in respect of that activity to prevent exposure of a worker to airborne asbestos fibre. In contrast, working in proximity to asbestos where the asbestos-containing material is not being cut, sanded, drilled, broken down, or otherwise disturbed in a way that will release airborne asbestos fibres can be classified as low risk.
Which common building materials contain asbestos?
Asbestos has been used in a wide variety of building materials in the past, including ceiling and floor tiles, cement siding, millboard, insulation, shingles, and popcorn ceiling texture, to name only a few. If your building has been built before 1990, there is a good chance it contains at least some asbestos.
What are some examples of high-risk asbestos abatement?
Working with or around asbestos can create major health risks if it has been compromised or is friable (easily crumbled). Once airborne, inhaling dust or fibres can wreak havoc on lungs and digestive tracts. There are several factors that can boost the friability of asbestos-containing particulates.
Destruction and deterioration will increase the possibility of airborne asbestos-containing particles. Water damage and ageing can also contribute to the degradation of asbestos-containing materials. What’s more, physical activities like drilling, cutting, sawing, or hammering can cause airborne activity.
Whether it be for remodelling, repair, demolition, or dismantling project, removing any asbestos-containing items in building structures can release contaminated fragments into the air. Examples of these materials include air-handling equipment, vermiculite insulation, ceilings, and walls.
Fixing, modifying, or disassembling furnaces, boilers, kilns, or other similar systems are also high-risk activities that can cause exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.
Does your project require you to work around asbestos-containing material? Knowing the high-risk activities involved will help you stay safe during your remodelling or deconstruction project.
How to lower the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos material?
Working with any asbestos-containing products can be extremely dangerous, especially if the material is compromised. Only a fully trained professional with the appropriate certification can properly evaluate and abate or remove asbestos.
No amount of asbestos is safe. If you are undergoing a project that may require high-risk asbestos abatement, ensure you, your workers, and your loved ones are protected by using asbestos abatement specialists. They will not only test the materials in your building but also create a customized plan for complete asbestos removal.
For all your asbestos abatement needs, contact Progressive Environmental.