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NEW INDUSTRY GUIDE ON DEMOLITION AND ASBESTOS

NFDC publish advice on non-licenable work during demolition

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) has released a guidance note entitled:  Industry guidance for non-licensed work with asbestos containing materials within a demolition or refurbishment environment

The note is described as an “informative & concise document” which is available free of charge on download from the NFDC website. The information contained within the guidance is for non-licensed work with asbestos containing materials only.

NFDC advise that licensable work with asbestos containing materials is to be carried out by an HSE licensed asbestos removal contractor employing fully trained operatives holding a current medical certificate. For work with any type of asbestos it is recommended that the HSE publications L143 and HSG247 should be consulted.

Howard Button NFDC CEO said

‘The industry was best placed to develop this Guidance due to our technical expertise and our experience in this field. Our members were crying out for a best practice guide to ensure the industry is able to maintain the high standards we set”

‘Wet and Drop’ technique explained

The Guidance includes advice on the ‘Wet and Drop’ technique for use with asbestos cement roofing and side sheeting and states that:  

“Historical data has proven that wetting and the mechanical reduction of asbestos cement roof and side sheeting is the least likely method to cause significant operative and environmental exposure to asbestos fibres.

This method reduces time spent working at height but is often not suitable where the work area is immediately adjacent public areas (eg less than 100 metre public exclusion zone and or beyond the predicted ‘debris zone’). Where this method is to be employed the following controlled procedures should be implemented:”

  1. The predicted drop zone must be considered as an exclusion and respirator zone which is clearly delineated and must be clear of all debris, extrusions and obstructions to facilitate a thorough environmental clean on completion of the works.
  2. The sealing of drains and establishment of a containment system is essential to ensure that there is no possibility of any contamination of water courses or surface water catchments.
  3. An adequate supply of water must be established, preferably through a holding tank. Note: the predominant asbestos fibre type in asbestos cement is Chrysotile asbestos which is classed as being ‘Hydrophilic’ lending itself to water penetration. Water sprays alone can be considered as an effective method of dust/fibre control during take down, handling and disposal operations.
  4. Water sprays must be focused on the area of AC sheeting to be removed by way of machine mounted jets or ground based equipment.
  5. Work should be carried out on a bay by bay system, cutting and dropping the sections of roof or side sheeting to the ground. Breakage of the sheets should be kept to a minimum, so far as is reasonably practicable. Fallen sheets must not be driven over.
  6. The cleaning up of AC debris, ideally, should be carried out using a rubber tyred loading shovel fitted with a plain edged bucket. Operatives assisting with the clean up works must have non-licensed work training and be trained in the safe working procedures and be equipped with suitable RPE & PPE.
  7. A routine of decontamination must be established at the end of each shift and before any meal/fatigue/toilet/smoking breaks.
  8. The resultant debris must be loaded into a sound, secure (gaps sealed) and lockable container for disposal by a licensed carrier at a registered disposal facility in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations and EA/Sepa protocols. Note: Open containers may be lined with heavy duty polythene sheeting that can be wrapped and tape sealed on completion of loading. Note: It is recommended that where practical enclosed containers be employed. Where open top containers are in use they should be fully sheeted to contain the load. The use of an easy sheet system alone may be inadequate if air is allowed to circulate below the sheet and within the container. This may cause damage to the polythene lining thus allowing a potential for fibre escape. Drivers are advised to consider weather conditions and the distances to travel from pick up point to disposal point.
  9. Background reassurance and personal monitoring should be carried out at key points around the working area with results monitored and recorded. Should monitoring identify any increase in fibre levels, which may increase operative or public exposure, work should be stopped and the system of work reviewed prior to recommencement.
  10. All waste water runoff must be contained and disposed of as contaminated waste; where a surfactant is used the resultant solidified runoff may be scraped up and disposed of with the asbestos debris.

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