Exposure to asbestos and inhaling the fibres can lead to diseases such as pleural plaque and asbestosis. Although the use of asbestos was banned in the 1980’s, many Australian homes built before this time still feature asbestos-based materials.
The popularity of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) removal projects place people at risk of developing diseases like mesothelioma, or cancer of the lungs. In fact, the practice of DIY asbestos removal is highly discouraged. Special permits need to be obtained to help minimise exposure. Taking the DIY path is both risky and dangerous.
Asbestos removal should be left to the professionals. They are trained, licensed and well-equipped to handle and dispose of these hazardous materials. Removing asbestos is complicated and risky and DIY methods are not only discouraged, but illegal if you do not have the right documents.
Below are some of the risks involved when performing DIY asbestos removal.
Age, exposure to the elements and weathering can make asbestos roofing fragile over time. A DIYer may not be aware of this, running the risk of breaking it apart and releasing the fibres into the air. Asbestos materials need to be wet during the removal process. The risk of electrocution is also higher. Working in higher spaces or climbing ladders may also lead to accidents.
The right equipment for asbestos removal is expensive and heavy. Cheaper alternatives are likely to fit poorly and not offer the same protection.
Wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) under the summer sun may lead to dehydration or heat stroke. The work can also be hard for those who are not very fit or trained correctly.
Improper removal techniques
Asbestos fibres may float around an enclosed area even before the removal process starts. Some DIYers might forget to keep the asbestos materials wet which could cause exposure to the asbestos. Others may not wear the prescribed PPE while removing asbestos. In addition, if the work area is not properly sealed, the fibres can lodge in clothing or spread to clean areas. This puts others at risk of asbestos fibre exposure.
Muscle, back, neck and knee injuries
Asbestos sheets can weigh around 35 to 50 kilograms per sheet. Their weight alone could lead to muscle strain and joint injury.
Taking the DIY route is risky and it’s best to consult a professional. A licensed and reputable removalist can help you dispose of deteriorating asbestos. Visit Asbestos Removals Australia for advice and consultation if you live or work in a place you think may have asbestos.