Asbestos removal through vapour abrasive blasting

Vapour abrasive blasting can be used for asbestos removal, but only under certain conditions.

Many buildings still contain construction materials containing asbestos, which poses serious health risks.

Vapour abrasive blasting can only be used as a last resort for asbestos removal, and only when the appropriate safety and control measures are taken. Contractors should inform building owners about the risks.

Asbestos is a set of naturally occurring silicate minerals that have been used for the production of heat and acid resistance products for a long time, especially in the construction, insulation, car, and ship industry.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, the trade and use of asbestos have been banned in an increasing number of countries because of the high health risks. Today, building owners have a ‘duty to manage’ asbestos on their premises by making themselves aware of its presence and ensuring the material does not deteriorate, removing it if necessary.
 

Vapour abrasive blasting: the last resort for asbestos removal

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are typically removed using low dust-emission methods such as wet injection and spraying techniques, along with manual removal. The goal is to minimize worker exposure and prevent the spread of dust. However, in some exceptional circumstances it may also be necessary to adopt more abrasive methods when removing ACMs. Blasting should be considered only as a last resort in a few rare circumstances. The use of the process must be fully justified by the licensed contractor.
 

Consider the risks of removal

Usually it is the customer that pushes for blasting to remove asbestos. Most people want a building that is free of asbestos by whatever means necessary. As a contractor, you must involve the customer in the decision process and explain the added risks that come with asbestos removal. Together you should consider whether the reasons for removal are worth these risks.

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Measures for asbestos removal by vapour blasting

To minimize the hazards of asbestos removal by vapour abrasive blasting, you should take the following control and safety measures:

·       Schedule the works carefully and make sure no other tasks will be performed at the same time.

·       Set up clear blasting processes and working procedures. Specify the maximum pressure levels and moisture content.

·       Perform a regular clean-up with suitable cleaning equipment.

·       Equip all those involved in the blasting process with the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE):
            o    Air-fed respiratory protective equipment (RPE) with dust filter
            o    hearing protection
            o    face shields
            o    blast suits
            o    gloves
            o    boots

·       Reduce the noise levels to as low as possible.

·       Spread out the tasks evenly to limit the manual handling and vibration exposure.

·       Protect sensitive installations and electronics in the room against water vapour.

Conclusion

Removing asbestos with vapour abrasive blasting is only possible under certain conditions. Contractors and customers should decide together whether the use of vapour blasting is desirable. If so, the appropriate safety and control measures should be taken. Contact our blasting experts for all your questions concerning vapour blasting and asbestos removal.

Source: Assure360

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