In Australia we still have properties with asbestos roofs, and given the health hazards of working with asbestos roofs we must have safety guidelines to prevent physical harm.
If you have asbestos anywhere in your home or business premises, you’ll know how important it is to have it dealt with immediately.
During the middle of the 20th century, the material used to be the go-to product used in ceilings and roof building.
In the 1970s, the dangers of asbestos were becoming more evident.
Asbestos was completely phased out of use in 1989, with a complete ban in building in 2003, leaving quite a big problem throughout Australia with consumers now aware of the dangers.
Banned Activities When Working With Asbestos Roofs
Each state and territory has its own laws as to what is allowed when working with asbestos roofs. Queensland law forbids contractors from using certain tools and methods to keep the material stable. One of its prohibitions is the use of power tools to break up the roofing as this disburses the hazardous asbestos dust fibres into the air.
This means no electrical devices at all, including angle grinders, power saws or even electrical sanders. While this slows down the work, it is essential for safety. Asbestos roofing material must be broken down using hand-held manual equipment.
Asbestos roofing material must be broken down using hand-held equipment. The use of electrical devices to remove asbestos is banned.
Even electrical cleaning devices are banned when working with asbestos roofing. This includes high-pressure cleaners, which use compressed air or powered abrasive cleaning heads. Household vacuum cleaners are also prohibited. Any or all of these devices can destabilise the asbestos material.
Preparation For Asbestos Roofing Work
There are tight controls over who can work on asbestos roofing and when. Before any work is carried out, you must agree to an asbestos removal control plan as part of the work schedule. You will also require a Safe Work Method Statement before work commences.
Disposing of Asbestos
According to the Queensland Government, asbestos waste has to be removed following certain strict guidelines. The material has to be double bagged in 0.2mm plastic bags, which are taped to seal them properly and are then clearly labelled “Contains Asbestos Waste”. Once this is done, the waste bags must be put in plastic-lined skip bins provided by authorised waste removers. Certified landfill waste tips are used to hold asbestos waste.
Can Asbestos Roofs Be Painted?
Asbestos roofs can be painted, under certain conditions. This helps to stabilise the material and make it as safe as possible. The paint used must conform to strict standards. It has to have an anti-fungus solution as part of its formulation to prevent future damage by fungal growth. After the paint is applied, it must be left to dry properly over a period of five to seven days.
Once thoroughly dry, the paint is covered with a fibro sealant, followed by three coatings of the roof membrane. All of these measures are necessary to keep asbestos in a safe condition.
However, the team at Brisbane Roofing Solutions believes it is far safer to remove the material altogether.