Trinitas Group provides the following asbestos management services to ensure our clients are able comply with mandatory asbestos legislation including Chapter 8 – Asbestos from the 2017 WHS Regulations.
Asbestos Material Sampling and Analysis
Asbestos testing in Australia is conducted to the Australian Standard AS 4964 Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples. All asbestos testing should be conducted by A NATA accredited laboratory.
Samples of material suspected of containing asbestos are first placed within a dust cabinet and viewed under a stereomicroscope between 10x – 40x magnification to attempt to test fibres of all types. The morphology of the fibres provides a clue as to what type of fibres it may be: chrysotile asbestos, amosite asbestos, crocidolite asbestos, actinolite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos; or non-asbestos fibre types such as organic fibres or synthetic mineral fibres (SMF).
The suspected asbestos fibres are then extracted by breaking material apart or using needles and tweezers. The fibres to be tested are then mounted on microscope slides with oils of different refractive indexes, depending on the type of asbestos is suspected and then viewed under polarised light.
The suspected asbestos fibres are viewed under polarised light microscopy which provides unequivocal identification through the viewing conditions of:
- Crossed Polars (XP)
- Plane Polarised Light (PPL)
- Dispersion Staining (DS)
Asbestos Building Inspections
Type 1 Presumptive Asbestos Inspections
The first type of asbestos inspections is Type 1 Presumptive Asbestos Inspections. These are also known as also known as location and assessment asbestos inspections, or presumptive asbestos inspections. This type of inspection is a preliminary survey of a building to identify materials that are suspected of containing asbestos. The process involves an asbestos consultant conducting a walk through to establish a list of the elements that are suspected of being Asbestos Containing Material (ACM).
At this point, the ACM is presumed as containing asbestos. A list of all the ACM identified within the building is then compiled into an asbestos register. The asbestos register outlines the location of the building elements within the property and includes a risk assessment of the material.
The risk assessment is based on the type, friability (bonded or friable), surface treatment and condition of the asbestos, the occupant activity including location, frequency and duration as well as potential maintenance of the suspected asbestos material.
While the material may be suspected of containing ACM within a Type 1 inspection, it must be reinforced that this has not been confirmed. This type of inspection is a precautionary measure in case the material is ACM. Only by taking samples and testing using polarised light microscopy can the presence and type of asbestos be determined.
Type 2 Sampling Asbestos Surveys
Asbestos surveys are conducted in line with the relevant state legislation and codes of practice in regards to the management and control of asbestos in the workplace and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance material which is seen as worlds-best practice.
Also known as a sampling survey, the asbestos inspection process is the same as a Type 1 presumptive asbestos survey, except that samples of material suspected of containing asbestos are collected. The building materials suspected of containing asbestos are then analysed within a NATA-accredited laboratory for chemical analysis.
This type of asbestos survey is more expensive due to the extra cost of the laboratory analysis; however, there is then little doubt as to whether the suspected Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is positive or negative. If the asbestos survey reveals that the ACM is positive, a risk assessment will be undertaken. This assessment also takes into account what type of asbestos was identified, as some forms of asbestos are more toxic than others.
The asbestos register is created in the same way, however, it also lists the type of asbestos that’s detected during the laboratory testing. Crocidolite or blue asbestos is a higher risk than amosite or brown asbestos, with white asbestos being the lowest risk.
Type 3 Sampling Asbestos Surveys
Before renovating or demolishing a house or part of your home, make sure you have a Type 3 Asbestos Audit. A major risk is knocking down a wall and a cloud of asbestos appears. We see these asbestos hazards occur time and time again. This tends to occur after the fact when someone experienced recognises the asbestos hazard that has been uncovered, and then it’s panic stations.
This can be prevented by undertaking an asbestos audit of the building ,which inspects the elements that may contain Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). In many instances, we find that by sampling asbestos it could be identified within the internal cavities or structure. To find the asbestos we inspect inside walls and ceilings.
The Australian Standard AS 2601—2001 The Demolition of Structures also requires that hazardous materials including asbestos be removed prior to a building or structure being demolished (clause 1.6). The Type 3 audit identifies the asbestos so that it can be removed beforehand so that it doesn’t become a risk. An asbestos clearance certificate is then provided to the builder so that there isn’t an asbestos risk during the demolition or refurbishment.
Operating without prior audits can be a costly clean-up process if asbestos fibres are released throughout the area. Some Sydney and Melbourne councils require a Type 3 asbestos audit at the time of the development application, but the best time for the audit is immediately prior to works commencing
An asbestos register is a table that sets out the details of where asbestos is located throughout buildings to clearly identify which materials contain asbestos.
The register is provided so that all occupants in the building understand where asbestos is located, and a risk rating is applied to ensure the reasonable safety of people within the building. The assessment also serves to prioritise any removal or remediation work that may be required to provide evidence of due diligence in the safe management of asbestos.
The asbestos register within the building should be updated whenever building work is conducted and be integrated within an asbestos management plan. It also serves as a historical document of how asbestos was controlled within the building.
The Model Work Health and Safety laws have been adopted by some states (including NSW) and outline what the requirements are with the ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU). The asbestos register is required to be developed by a competent person, which is not defined clearly and open to interpretation. Look for the orange NATA symbol to ensure that your asbestos register is compliant.
Asbestos Management Plans
An Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) is a tool used when managing asbestos in a building, structure or in contaminated waste and soil. Most commonly an AMP is utilised by the controller of a building to assist in the prevention of exposure to asbestos fibres to occupiers of buildings and the general public.
The plan accompanies an Asbestos Register, which details the location of any known or presumed asbestos-containing materials alongside a risk assessment, based on the location and condition of the materials. The register will ensure that contractors working on your sites know where they’re likely to encounter asbestos materials so that necessary precautions can be taken. It is mandatory that all workplaces have an Asbestos Register which is updated annually, and an AMP fulfils the duties of employers to ensure all practicable measures are in place to reduce potential hazards for all persons within a workplace.
Asbestos Air Monitoring
Asbestos air monitoring is conducted to the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres, 2nd Edition [NOHSC: 3003(2005)]; however be warned, not all asbestos air monitoring companies are the same. Please ensure that whoever you engage to undertake asbestos air monitoring that they are NATA accredited. If they are not, the results can be questionable.
NATA accredited laboratories are inspected on a regular basis by a semi-government organisation to ensure that they comply with all testing and asbestos air monitoring regulations. If you want professionals that have been undertaking asbestos air monitoring for years where quality is paramount, use a NATA accredited laboratory, or you may be placing your health at risk due to unqualified asbestos consulting companies.
Trust only NATA accredited asbestos air monitoring for asbestos removal, clearance monitoring or even if you’re concerned about asbestos fibres in your house.
Asbestos Enclosure Smoke Tests
Notifiable asbestos removal jobs often require enclosures to be built around the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) prior to removal. To confirm the enclosure is sealed effectively, an important control measure called smoke testing is carried out.
Upon building an asbestos enclosure, Trinitias Group carry out an efficient smoke test alongside other control measures that follow best practice to ensure the utmost safety.
When our team of fully trained professionals are confident the enclosure is sealed successfully, they then invite the client’s representative to witness the test. This allows them to rest assured that no contaminated air will leak out of the assigned enclosure.
Records of the smoke test are recorded on a Site Log and enclosures are checked on a daily basis. Should any repairs be required, a further smoke test may be carried out. Essentially, the smoke test confirms that the enclosure is effective when there is no apparent leakage.
Asbestos Removal and Remediation Projects
Trinitas Group facilitates large-scale asbestos removal projects. Whether it’s bonded or friable asbestos removal projects, Trinitas will engage an appropriately licensed asbestos removal contractor to complete the works.
Asbestos Clearance Inspections and Clearance Certificates
With the introduction of the recent Safe Work Australia Workplace Health and Safety regulations, an Asbestos Clearance Inspection is required after the removal of friable and non-friable (bonded) asbestos.
Asbestos clearance certificates are provided by an independent occupational hygienist or licenced asbestos assessor after the asbestos removalists have completed their work. This is to ensure that the area is visually free of asbestos containing materials and that it is unlikely there will be asbestos fibres in the air.
The asbestos clearance inspection may include the following verification methods to ensure that the area is relatively asbestos free:
- Visual clearance inspection
- Asbestos air monitoring.
The clearance certificate will then be provided once clearance air monitoring results are below 0.01 f/ml and/or there are no visual clues that asbestos remains.
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