An asbestos decontamination procedure must be performed each time a person leaves an asbestos area or when the removal work is completed. This procedure must take place for the following:
- The asbestos zone
- All the tools used
- Anyone involved in the work of asbestos or present at the scene.
- Asbestos decontamination zones
Asbestos is a fairly dangerous material to breathe, which is why it is generally important to avoid moving it so as not to release its airborne spores. Because this is not always possible, especially during renovation or asbestos removal, you will need to ensure that certain procedures are implemented and strictly followed.
As part of the decontamination process, you need to create specific “dirty” and “clean” areas to ensure that asbestos fibres, dust and residues are not transported out of the affected area.
1. Dirty asbestos decontamination zone
The closest to the asbestos removal area to suck and wipe contaminated surfaces and clothing, store contaminated footwear, remove personal protective equipment in labeled bags and shower.
2. Clean asbestos decontamination zone
For the storage of clean respiratory protection equipment.
3. A clean change zone
It is important that decontamination areas are physically separated to minimize cross-contamination.
In addition, it is also important that the flow of air through these areas always moves towards the asbestos disposal zone and that all contaminated water is collected and evacuated with asbestos waste. Use caution when moving labeled and sealed bags containing contaminated clothing and wipes from the dirty area through clean areas.
All asbestos waste, including labeled or sealed bags, must be disposed of appropriately and responsibly to avoid further asbestos-related problems.
Types of asbestos decontamination
You should never attempt to decontaminate yourself, as asbestos treatment is a tedious project that requires the expertise of a professional. So if you have any doubts about the presence of asbestos in your home, it is strongly recommended to contact an expert in order to obtain adequate identification and proceed with the removal.
Decontamination can be done in two ways:
1. Wet decontamination
Wet decontamination (or “wet wiping”) involves using disposable rags to wipe contaminated surfaces and objects. If a bucket of water is used, the rags should not be re-remounted in the bucket as this would contaminate the water, resulting in asbestos waste. All rags must then be disposed of with asbestos-contaminated waste.
2. Dry decontamination
Dry decontamination involves rolling/folding contaminated leaves and making sure they are properly sealed. This could also involve the use of a specialized asbestos vacuum cleaner. This method should only be used if wet decontamination poses a risk due to electricity.
Only qualified experts have the knowledge and skills to properly decontaminate asbestos using any of these methods.
Whether you have hired a team of experts to do the necessary work or have decided to work with an asbestos removal professional, it is essential to follow appropriate self-decontamination procedures. Following the removal of asbestos by the pros, you will have to take the following steps:
Keep your respirator and EPI until all work is completed and the area is fully cleaned.
Before removing any personal protective equipment or shoes, clean them thoroughly with an asbestos vacuum cleaner. Safety shoes must also be wiped with a damp cloth, which must then be discarded along with asbestos waste.
Personal protective equipment and shoes should not be removed until visible dust or asbestos residue is removed. PPE should be carefully removed and disposed of appropriately with other asbestos waste.
Before removing a breathing apparatus, wash thoroughly and pay special attention to the hands, nails and head. Remove the respirator last and carefully wash the face.
When all asbestos removal work is complete, the tools must be decontaminated by disassembling them (if any) and wiping them with a damp cloth to remove any visible traces of dust and asbestos residue, or by cleaning them with an asbestos vacuum cleaner.
Sometimes it may be easier to completely dispose of the tools as asbestos waste rather than decontaminate them. If you need to remove tools from the asbestos area for decontamination or move them to another asbestos area, be sure to place them in a double bag and label them properly.
What steps should be taken for successful decontamination?
Once detected, asbestos must be disposed of as soon as possible,but work in this context must be carried out in strict compliance with the rules set by the Committee on Standards, Fairness, Health and Safety at Work(CNESST). These standards must be controlled and applied by the professional who will intervene in the asbestos removal process.
Provide appropriate protective clothing
A company that deploys its workers on a field for asbestos removal work must provide them with appropriate protective clothing,as they are equally vulnerable to inhalation of asbestos particles. Basically, asbestos removal professionals must wear protection kits consisting of a combination of masks,pair of gloves, safety boots, pair of glasses… In addition, the protective masks to be used in this context must be equipped with a protective system Assisted ventilation, they must be sophisticated enough to allow workers to breathe clean air during work.
Preparing the ground
If the decontamination process is to be carried out over a large area,workers must create an on-site shower to wash certain accessories and bags that will be used to store the particles of unbridled material during the work. Then, an additive must be mixed with water to control the spread of the fibres and prevent them from evaporating into the wild. Protective cloths, protective clothing and portable premises must be discarded after the operation. In addition, avoid drinking, eating and smoking during asbestos decontamination.