Exposure limit value: The exposure limit value for asbestos is the maximum concentration of asbestos fibres in the air to which workers may be exposed at a place of work, measured or calculated with reference to an eight-hour period (i.e. the duration of an average work shift). The exposure limit value for all types of asbestos is 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre of air (fibres per cm3) (equivalent to 100 fibres per litre of air). This exposure limit value is not a ‘safe threshold’. It is calculated that lung cancer mortality through forty-five years of exposure to 0.1 fibres per cm3 would amount to five additional deaths per thousand exposed people. (The Health and Safety Authority, Asbestos Guidelines)
Generally, a risk exists in demolition or refurbishment projects because there is a possibility of asbestos or asbestos containing materials in the work environment, this risk of exposure increases when an appropriate survey, to determine the type and quantity of any asbestos/asbestos containing materials has not been carried out by a trained and competent person.
Typical hazards that employees may be exposed too in areas containing asbestos or asbestos containing materials may include:
• Lack of information/training provided to employees.
• Inadequate facilities provided to employees to eat, drink and wash.
• Asbestos or asbestos containing materials incorrectly sealed and labelled.
• Asbestos dust accidently released into the surrounding atmosphere.
• Inadequate personal protective equipment/respiratory protective equipment/protective clothing provided to employees who are likely to be in areas containing asbestos/asbestos containing materials.
• Ease of access into areas containing asbestos/asbestos containing materials.
• Possibility of asbestos or asbestos containing materials in the work environment.
• Incorrect methods of storing and/or transporting asbestos containing materials.
ABC Construction as an employer shall –
• Ensure employees are provided with information, instruction and training so they know the risks involved in their work and the precautions they should take, as required by the 2005 Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act.
• Ensure adequate facilities for employees to wash, eat and drink are provided.
• Ensure employees are made aware of the results of any measurement of asbestos dust in the air in their work area.
• Ensure the number of employees exposed or likely to be exposed to dust arising from either or both asbestos or asbestos containing materials is kept to the lowest possible number.
• Ensure that systems of work are designed not to produce asbestos dust or, if that proves impossible, to avoid the release of asbestos dust into the air.
• Ensure that asbestos or asbestos-containing materials are stored and transported in suitable sealed packing.
• Ensure that waste is collected and removed from the place of work as soon as possible in suitable sealed packing with labels clearly indicating that it contains asbestos.
• Ensure that relevant signage is displayed in areas where such activities will take place.
• Ensure that appropriate and suitable protective clothing is provided to employees who will be in the area.
• Ensure that protective clothing is worn correctly by employees in the area.
• Ensure that any area containing or likely to contain asbestos/asbestos containing materials is not accessible to employees other than those who, by reason of their work duties, are required to enter such an area.
• Ensure that employees only smoke in designated areas.
• Ensure that, where exposure cannot reasonably be reduced by other means, employees are provided with appropriate individual respiratory protective equipment and ensure that it is worn correctly by those employees.
• Ensure employees have received training in the correct use of respiratory protective equipment and personal protective equipment. ( The Health and Safety Authority)
Asbestos monitoring, exposure prevention and containment system requirements that should be used during the renovation project.
Where an initial examination reveals that the amount of asbestos fibres in the atmosphere at a place of work is equal to or greater than the exposure limit value, the measurement of asbestos in the air at the place of work shall be carried out on a regular basis throughout the duration of the project.
For the purposes of measuring asbestos in the air sampling shall be representative of the personal exposure of the employee to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos. Sampling shall be carried out by a competent person after the employer has consulted with the employees concerned.
When samples are taken they shall be analysed by a competent person, in accordance with the recommended method, in a laboratory suitable for fibre counting. The duration of sampling shall be such that representative exposure can be established for an eight-hour reference period (one shift) by means of measurements or time-weighted calculations. Fibre counting shall be carried out wherever possible by PCM (phase contrast microscope).
For measuring asbestos in the air only fibres with a length of more than 5 micrometres and a breadth of less than 3 micrometres and a length/breadth ratio greater than 3:1 shall be taken into consideration. (Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Asbestos Regulations 2006 -2010)
Specific asbestos waste management, packaging, labelling and shipment requirements that must be adhered to when sending the asbestos waste to a licenced waste disposal facility in Europe.
The removal and transportation of asbestos materials is subject to several statutory provisions including the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (exposure to asbestos) Regulations 2006.It should be noted that a licensed asbestos contractor must notify the relevant authority of their intention to remove such items. Notification of such works is normally subject to a 14-day period.
The materials which may be transported under this special provision may be subdivided into friable and non-friable materials.
• Friable materials:
Friable materials must be carried with UN approved packaging suitable for the
transport of asbestos. When such packaging is used, no other requirements of ADR apply. However, packages must be marked with an ‘a’ asbestos label in accordance with REACH(Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).
(as provided in Figure 1).
Examples of friable materials:
• Thermal insulation on pipe work and vessels
• Asbestos insulating board
• Mill board
• Textiles, ropes and paper
• Non-friable materials:
It comes highly recommended that non-friable materials are double wrapped or double bagged in heavy duty plastic.
All openings should be completely sealed with suitable adhesive tape.
The package must be able to withstand normal handling and transport operations without opening or failing. When this is achieved there are no other ADR requirements.
However, as provided above in Figure 1, you must mark all packages with an ‘a’ asbestos label in
accordance with REACH
Examples of non-friable material:
• Asbestos cement products in good condition
• ‘Galbestos’, which is bitumen layer on corrugated galvanized sheets
• Damp proof course
• Roofing felt
• Bitumen products (acoustic sink pads)
• Toilet cisterns
• Compressed gaskets in good condition
• Enclosed electrical fittings
• Putties, mastic and sealants