What to Ask? 

There are a number of things you can ask to ensure that the asbestos removal contractor you have chosen is legitimate and complies with all the relevant Codes of Practice and Statutory requirements. Some of these are as follows;

Is the contractor fully insured and do they have an A-class/supervisors licence?

You should ask to see copies of all your contractor’s licences and insurances prior to works commencing. Be careful when reviewing these licences as you may be presented with a B-class or non-friable licence. This licence is intended for asbestos removal labourers and can be obtained in two days with no prior experience. You should demand an A-Class supervisor for your job. An A-class is a much more comprehensive licence and can only be obtained after showing at least five years of industry experience and passing a number of exams.

Is the contractor’s equipment up to date and correctly maintained?

The most important piece of asbestos removal equipment is the H-type HEPA rated asbestos vacuum cleaner. These vacuums are used to decontaminate the work area of all visible  and invisible asbestos debris. If they are incorrectly maintained, or have been mistreated during transport/use, the filter can become damaged and lose its efficiency. If this occurs the vacuum could actually be pumping out dangerous asbestos fibres into your home. The only way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to care for the equipment, to have a maintenance program in place, and to ensure all H-type equipment has a current DOP (Dispersed Oil Particulate) testing certification. This is an scientific test which must be undertaken on asbestos removal equipment every year. This is a legal obligation so if your contractor can’t provide this documentation, you should not trust them with your project.

Does your contractor provide their workers with a Health Surveillance program and professionally certified respirator fit testing?

Whilst this won’t affect you directly or play a part in your removal project, it is certainly an indicator on the contractor’s commitment to safety. It is a legal obligation to provide yearly fit testing and an ongoing health surveillance program for its employees, but incredibly, many contractors still don’t provide these services. If your contractor can’t provide these  documents you should wonder what other corners they are cutting.

Will there be air monitoring during the project and an independent clearance inspection after the project?

Both air monitoring and clearance inspections are services which must be conducted by a fully independent company. Air monitoring is the measure of airborne/respirable fibres which can be released during asbestos removal works. This is not legally required on every non-friable job but is recommended and should be strongly considered. Talk to your removal contractor and they will assist you in determining if it should be undertaken on your project. A clearance inspection is the inspection of the workplace by an independent asbestos assessor following the asbestos removal works. It will ensure that all asbestos, residue and dust has been correctly removed and that the work area has been adequately decontaminated. Not only is this required to ensure your family has a safe home to return to, it is also a legal obligati on. If your removal contractor doesn’t book an independent clearance inspection following the works or tells you it is your responsibility, they should be reported to Workplace Health and Safety Qld immediately.

This is the final step of the asbestos removal process and any dangers must be picked up now prior to somebody being inadvertently exposed.

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