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Topic Title: Asbestos removal
Topic Summary: Trust or not?
Created On: 29 October 2013 07:50 AM
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 29 October 2013 07:50 AM
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SherlockOhms

Posts: 313
Joined: 05 April 2011

Chaps,

We all know that certificates aren't worth the paper they're written on and some contractors will simply sign regardless.

Would you trust a certificate of asbestos removal or simply walk away from the job (rewire). After all, no one is going to be held responsible twenty years down the road when I keel over.

Am I being overly cautious?

S.
 29 October 2013 04:00 PM
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Cremeegg

Posts: 495
Joined: 13 July 2007

If its recent then I'd be more inclined to believe it but as with any industry there are plenty of cowboys and plenty of very close working relationships between some removal companies and some analytical companies.

Just beware that all this one fibre can kill needs to be put into perspective.

An asbestos analyst taking air samples after an asbestos removal job tests to the agreed HSE standard of 0.01 fibres per cubic millilitre of air. Anything up to this level is declared "safe". Put another way that's 10,000 fibres per cubic metre of air. Take your average lounge say 4m by 3m by 2.5m - say 30 cubic metres. At the safe level that's 300,000 fibres in the room and it's considered "safe" or "clean".

There are many practical reasons why the levels are so high - all to do with the use of optical microscopes.

So just think about the levels the public are exposed to even today walking past building sites - plenty of asbestos cement around still that is frequently smashed up. Then think about the huge amount still floating around the London Tube network.

If one fibre really did kill we'd all be dead long ago.

Nasty stuff but get it in perspective please.
 29 October 2013 04:58 PM
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Delbot321

Posts: 77
Joined: 06 November 2012

I think there is a lot of opinion about how to treat asbestos around but a lot of it is not based on fact, that's not to say it doesn't cause horrendous consequences so you're right to be cautious.

If it's not disturbed and sealed it's quite safe. You haven't said weather the asbestos is just flash guards in distribution boards or if its dust around the equipment and mains room or if it's from other historical building work so I hope the following is useful.

There is some good information from the HSE on their website and they do a book full of methods of dealing with and working on asbestos that has recently been revised and is practical, all of which do not require any special license for carrying out. Just the usual risk assessment and suitable controls put in place.

I've written and had approved method statements for the removal of distribution equipment contain asbestos on several projects. Basically providing you don't create any dust there isn't a problem. In order to prevent this you stop the particles becoming airborne and you have therefore controlled the risk. This is best done with either PVA glue mixed with water or shaving foam sprayed on the equipment before you remove or disturb it - obviously it's electrically isolated before doing this.
Once the equipment is removed you bag it up along with any rags you used for wiping down as contaminated waste and dispose of it as such. These additional costs need to be included for in you quote although some large companies (like BT) actually require contractors to leave it on site in a locked room for them to arrange controlled disposal of.

So back to your original question - where has the asbestos dust come from? Has it been removed properly or is there any residue left? If there is residue or you are worried clean the affected area as detailed above. If you can't be sure then walk away but the risk is fairly low.
 29 October 2013 05:17 PM
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circle143

Posts: 213
Joined: 19 July 2007

I am in agreement with the previous two posts. However, if you do not need the work then I would walk away. I have no doubt that most of us have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos in our work as electricians and this is why I personally try to minimise working anywhere near or where I know asbestos has been present.

A few years back I made myself slightly unpopular on a small job where I was working. The client asked a carpenter to remove a ceiling - when I heard this I mentioned that I thought the ceiling could be asbestos. Immediately I was told that it wasn't and to stop worrying. At this point I refused to continue working until the ceiling was tested. Sure enough it was tested and it was asbestos!

Personally, this has become the worst aspect of my work - not always knowing what we and others onsite are dealing with and trusting asbestos removal operatives. Its not only asbestos but MDF and insulation dust should also raise concern.
 29 October 2013 05:38 PM
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AJJewsbury

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0.01 fibres per cubic millilitre of air

What's a cubic millilitre? (six dimensional space??)
- Andy.
 29 October 2013 08:18 PM
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Zs

Posts: 2633
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Sherlock, I assume from your post that you know that this place did have asbestos. Your concern is real. I watched the guys remove asbestos from the loft of one of my sister's homes and thought it was farcical. They got dressed up like space men and swept it all into black bags which they dumped beside their van while they had a fag. It cost her a fortune.

Young lads, on good money. I wonder what their terms of employment were?

Speaking personally, I avoid anything that looks remotely like asbestos and urge you to do the same. However, my clients tend to be equally concerned and get independent surveys after any removal.

20 years to develop is not very long. We lost a family member to this a little while back and he had barely retired when it got him. He had been a plumber. It didn't take long once it got him.


So, even if the risk is low it is still a risk. I reckon politely decline Sherlock.

Zs

Edited: 30 October 2013 at 08:20 PM by Zs
 29 October 2013 08:40 PM
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Cremeegg

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Andy - cubic millilitre - same as cubic centimetre - 1cc - 1cm3.

Zs - I'm always amused (in a perverse sort of way) when I see these "spacemen" remove their masks and immediately light up. I forget the figures but whatever their risk is (and it's very substantially higher than Joe Public) I believe I've seen that it's something like 30x as much by smoking as well. Similarly those huge extract fans they use to keep negative pressure within their working enclosure. They might well contain a brand new HEPA filter or two trapping 99.997% of all nasties but given the billions of fibres inside the plastic tent where they are working there are still plenty of fibres coming out the "clean" side of the filter. I appreciate where you are coming from and I hope your soon to be deleted problem can be kept at bay.
 30 October 2013 07:43 AM
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SherlockOhms

Posts: 313
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Many thanks to all.

Zs, wise words as ever. I really won't loose any sleep if I decline.
Even if the risk is small, it's not one I need to take.

S.
 30 October 2013 12:38 PM
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OMS

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Zs - I'm always amused (in a perverse sort of way) when I see these "spacemen" remove their masks and immediately light up. I forget the figures but whatever their risk is (and it's very substantially higher than Joe Public) I believe I've seen that it's something like 30x as much by smoking as well. Similarly those huge extract fans they use to keep negative pressure within their working enclosure. They might well contain a brand new HEPA filter or two trapping 99.997% of all nasties but given the billions of fibres inside the plastic tent where they are working there are still plenty of fibres coming out the "clean" side of the filter


I worked as a licensed asbestos worker and also as a licenced radiation worker - from my experience usually the safest place to be is inside the tent - your mask etc will all be correctly face fitted, you usually have "wet" in there so airbourne particulate is low along with lots of other techniques that tend to keep you safe (or safer than the surrounding public anyway)

The HEPA filter discharge is actually outside the space, so it's the people surrounding and outside the tent that get exposed to that, not the removers.

Being a smoker, the combined risks are at least 30 times higher as you say - but then I drive a car every day and that kills 3000 a year anyway.

My favourite was an old school caretaker who used to diligently pressure wash down the ACM roofs of the HORSA buildings evey summer holiday - the head didn't like looking at mossy roofs.

The run off used to dry on the yard and the resulting residue was then airbourne - basically billions upon billions of fibres

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 30 October 2013 01:55 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Andy - cubic millilitre - same as cubic centimetre - 1cc - 1cm3.

I thought 1cc was a millilitre - rather than a cubic millilitre...
- Andy.
 30 October 2013 02:14 PM
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SherlockOhms

Posts: 313
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The part that bothers me is that it's only as good as the original survey.
How consciencious have they been?

The removal contractors will only take out what they've been told about. Reasonable enough.

If there is still unlocated asbestos in the house and I drill/cut/chop through it then it's my problem and I have no come back.

S.
 30 October 2013 04:45 PM
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OMS

Posts: 18934
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If you suspect it's ACM - then ask to get it tested before proceeding. The duty holder has that obligation to you - there should be a full demolition and refurbuishment survey undertaken for every area you need to work in - and you still have the ability to ask for more.

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 11 January 2014 01:26 PM
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Zuiko

Posts: 518
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Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

Andy - cubic millilitre - same as cubic centimetre - 1cc - 1cm3.


I thought 1cc was a millilitre - rather than a cubic millilitre...

- Andy.


quite, there is no such thing as a "cubic millilitre", unless you live in six-dimensional space.
 12 January 2014 12:54 PM
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slittle

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I've got my second course in almost as many months on this tomorrow so interesting reading..

All of my team done there asbestos awareness with a really good trainer last year so a couple of us are back tomorrow (me included to get a management view) on the unlicensed course.

A friend I drink with works for an asbestos consultancy company and he has told me many times about the guys unmasking and lighting up

Stu
 12 January 2014 01:23 PM
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jamieblatant

Posts: 481
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Don't get me wrong I don't go looking for trouble by smashing up asbestos or drilling through ACM,s and I ask to see site asbestos records but......

If you work on sites you sold your self to the building trade expect to have bad knees and a back and eat a few things you shouldent in return you get a good living / trade

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 12 January 2014 05:34 PM
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slittle

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Never a more truthful answer mate. Makes you wonder why we do it really.

Stu
 13 January 2014 08:50 AM
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sulman

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think there is a lot of opinion about how to treat asbestos around but a lot of it is not based on fact, that's not to say it doesn't cause horrendous consequences so you're right to be cautious. .
shipsurvey.com.sg/asbestos-removals

Edited: 13 January 2014 at 08:58 AM by sulman
 19 February 2014 11:02 AM
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jerry67

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In my opinion proper care should be taken while handling asbestos as it can cause chronic diseases. Many studies reveal that asbestos exposure lead to increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma etc. High quality training is essential for handling asbestos. Recently I'd seen a professional from Healthy Environmental, Ontario removing asbestos from the floor. The work performed by him clearly shows that how good he is and quality of training he had acquired. Quality training will enables the person to assess and take proper step according to it.
 19 February 2014 11:14 AM
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rocknroll

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Be very careful how you picture Canada in the WHO asbestos debate, Canada is a major global producer of chrysotile asbestos, this presents a double standard, legislators actively protect their own citizens from asbestos-containing products but do not ban the exportation of millions of tons of these deadly products, as if citizens from the less-developed countries are second-class global citizens.

regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 05 March 2014 08:22 PM
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circle143

Posts: 213
Joined: 19 July 2007

Hi,

I have just been to view a job - It's a commercial office area with a suspended ceiling with removable tiles that was installed 20 years ago. Inside the suspended ceiling is very clear a part from some cables and some neatly installed ducting. Just when I thought all was going well I noticed that the upper original ceiling is possibly asbestos and to make matters worse it looks like someone has put a hammer through it to find a decent fixing.

I am tempted to walk away from this job as the ceiling void is possibly contaminated with fibres. Its an old building with no records or register.
IET » Wiring and the regulations » Asbestos removal

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