Are you in charge of a workplace? If you have control of a workplace, you're required by law to identify and assess the risk of asbestos exposure in the workplace. To fulfil this legal requirement, you need to seek out the services of an asbestos auditing company.
What will this professional do to help to identify and assess risks associated with exposure to asbestos at workplace? Keep reading on below to find out.
Identifying the location of asbestos
The first step of any asbestos management process is to discover where the asbestos is present. An asbestos auditor will inspect the entire building to know the location of any asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACM), be it existing or suspected. The auditor will also pinpoint any inaccessible areas of the building that they suspect may have ACM. This information is then recorded in an asbestos register.
Determining the form of the asbestos present
ACMs come in two main forms: friable and non-friable asbestos.
Friable asbestos can generally crumble into powder quite easily when dry. If disturbed, it can easily release harmful fibres into the air, thus posing a major health hazard when inhaled. Some examples of friable ACMs include pipe insulation, spray acoustic ceilings, sheet vinyl flooring and many more.
Conversely, non-friable or bonded asbestos is compact, rigid, non-friable and doesn't turn to powder form when crushed. This is because its fibres are more tightly bound together than those for friable asbestos. Non-friable asbestos products typically don't release fibres into the air.
Examples of non-friable asbestos include asphalt roofing, bitumen-based waterproofing products, vinyl floor tiles and more.
Determining the type of asbestos present
Although there are only two forms of asbestos and ACMs, there are several types of asbestos based on their mineral compositions. The various types of asbestos fall under any one of two groups: amphibole and serpentine. An asbestos auditor will record the specific type and mineral family of asbestos found in a building in the asbestos register.
Determining the condition of the asbestos
Another thing that an asbestos auditor will do is to assess the condition of asbestos and ACMs. For example, otherwise dry and friable ACMs located in the basement of a building may be wet due to recent flooding. Likewise, bonded asbestos may become friable over time as a result of constant battering by hail.
Assessing the likelihood of disturbance
In addition to identifying the location of asbestos and determining the form, type and condition of the asbestos, an asbestos auditor will also assess the likelihood of a disturbance. If the risk is significant, asbestos removal may be needed.
Performing periodic asbestos audits at your workplace can help to reduce your liability in the event that asbestos exposure occurs. More importantly, it helps to keep everyone safe from asbestos.