Asbestos is still present in many homes and buildings today. This is because of the extensive use of asbestos in building materials, insulating materials and other products in the past. The use of asbestos in some of these materials did not cease until well into the 1980’s. There have been countless incidents of persons being unwittingly exposed to asbestos, carrying out home renovations or being present near homes or other building construction work. The society has worked tirelessly in recent years to raise awareness about exposure to asbestos and its dangers. It is the case that even brief exposure to asbestos can cause serious disease. All exposure should be avoided if possible.
ADSS strongly recommends employing a licensed professional to undertake any work where asbestos is or might be present. To find a licensed professional please contact the Demolition Contractors Association www.dcaq.com.au or the Asbestos Industry Association www.asbestosindustry.asn.au
During your renovations, take precautions to avoid an expensive clean-up bill and minimize exposure to yourself and others.
Private contractors have had to pay clean-up bills in excess of $100,000 because preventative actions were not taken before commencing a job. There are methods to legally and safely work around asbestos in the home. The risk to your health and your neighbours is low if you take the necessary precautions. Look after your own health and that of your family and neighbours by following the law and safe work procedures.
Before starting a job, involving asbestos, consider:
• Can you leave the material alone (have you considered alternatives to removing it)?
• Can you comply with the law and safety procedures when working with asbestos.
• Does the job require a licensed asbestos removalist?
Never use power tools, such as angle grinders, circular saws and electric sanders;
Never use high pressure water blasters;
Never use compressed air.
All of these activities are very dangerous because they can release large numbers of asbestos fibres into the air. These activities are illegal and substantial penalties apply.
A booklet entitled Asbestos: A home renovator’s and tradeperson’s guide for minor work in domestic buildings has been produced by the Queensland Government and the Society. The Society is very proud of its involvement in the creation of this booklet. You can obtain your free copy of this booklet by clicking on the link on this page or by calling the Society on 1800 776 412.
It is often very difficult to identify the presence of asbestos by sight as it was / is contained in over 3,000 products. If unsure, assume it is and get is tested by a competent person and analysed in an accredited laboratory.
The Queensland Government had developed a guide to help home renovators with asbestos problems. It can be found here.