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    Your guide to dealing with asbestos

    Published on 2 May 2014, Friday, 2:06 AM

    If you or any of your workers are at risk of coming into contact with asbestos when painting a home, renovating the bathroom or undertaking any other job, there are certain steps that must be followed.

    Here is a quick guide to follow to keep any potential risk to a minimum, ensuring your own safety and that of others.

    Before you commence any job, make sure you take a look at the risks - if you are doing some DIY and are unsure whether you could be dealing with asbestos, it is best to consult a professional.

    Around one third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products, according to the government-run Asbestos Safety group.

    If this material needs to be removed, it must be done by a trained professional from a business with an asbestos removal licence.

    Where is asbestos found?

    Asbestos is found in many areas of the home. When cleaning out your guttering using a cherry picker you could see it in your guttering, roof sheeting, capping, eaves and as imitation brick cladding.

    On the inside of your home, this material can often be found in your ceilings and floors. You may also spot it as part of vinyl sheet flooring, wall sheeting, as well as carpet and tile underlays and on flexible building boards.

    It can also make up part of your insulation in wood heaters, or be found underneath wood heater hearths and in the kitchen in splash backs, floor tiles and in the ceiling.

    Your garden may also hold a host of asbestos products, with fencing, sheds and carports often made from this material.

    It cannot be determined whether a material is made from asbestos simply by looking at it. If you suspect it is made from this product, you should get it examined by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

    How much exposure is too much?

    The Australian government say any exposure to these fibres, even if it is only a small amount, could be dangerous. The risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease increases with the number of asbestos fibres breathed in during your lifetime.

    Therefore, it could be best to engage a professional if you know your home is made from this product, although the government health department says occasional exposure to small amounts is less likely to be dangerous.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.