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Following reports of a number of cases in which asbestos was either removed incorrectly or improperly disposed of, the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) released a reminder on best practice during handling of asbestos and what to do should the best laid plans fail during a project.

First and foremost, UKATA believes a solid plan should always be in place for all licenced work to prevent any accidents; additionally, fully qualified and dedicated personnel should follow their training stringently during asbestos surveying and removal projects to further lower the risk of an incident taking place. However, even with the most carefully laid out plans, accidents can still happen; this tends to be when asbestos is not found in a survey, for example, or when someone is accidentally exposed to the deadly carcinogen. Should such a situation arise, staff involved must make the necessary assessment, and, should they be trained to do so, correctly clean up the area to prevent exposure risk for themselves and others. However, before dealing with disturbed asbestos, it is imperative to first think of the safety of those present and evacuate those that are not licenced to work with the dangerous material.

Those working with asbestos should of course be minimising their risk to exposure by wearing the correct protective clothing and equipment at all times throughout a project – they should even wear these items when an asbestos survey shows no signs of asbestos, just in case, as a way to lower the risk of asbestos exposure and future illness.

For UKATA, the correct removal and disposal of asbestos waste is a big concern. Because removal of asbestos is arguably only the first stage of an asbestos removal project, personnel must also know how to efficiently and effectively clear up an area if something goes wrong as well as the correct procedure for asbestos waste disposal following asbestos removal. This knowledge will lower the risk of asbestos causing damage, not only for employees but also for the public.

A relatively simple procedure, asbestos disposal requires the following of clear industry guidelines such as packaging the waste in UN-approved packaging with a Carriage of Dangerous Goods (CDG) hazard sign; asbestos code information should also be visible and the waste should always be double wrapped before being disposed of at a licenced disposal site. It is also important to remember that any waste with more than 0.1 per cent asbestos is classified as hazardous.

Although it may seem easier, more cost-effective and less time consuming to not follow the Health, Safety and Environmental guidelines of UKATA, it is important to remember the dangers that surround asbestos and the catastrophic damage it can do to the health of those exposed to it. By taking precautions and adhering to regulations ARCA accredited and licenced asbestos survey and removal companies such as ARG can get it right, even when things go wrong.

With more than 30 years of experience in the construction and asbestos industry, we at ARG have developed a strong reputation for reliability, consistent quality and a stringent commitment to keeping up-to-date with the most recent legislative developments and requirements. Striving to bring excellence to each and every project, we believe there are no such things as problems, only opportunities to succeed.

Through thorough preparation and compliance to all HSE guidelines, we ensure any project we take on is completed in a manner that ensures customer satisfaction. Should you require a fully certified specialist in the field of asbestos survey and removal, contact ARG.

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