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Raising Awareness about Asbestos in Schools
The existence of asbestos-containing material (ACM) does not only give troubles to the workers in their workplace or tenants in their houses, but also students in their schools. Schools are now also affected by the presence of ACMs as the effect of the legacy of the past. There are numbers of schools in Australia detected to be installed with products containing hazardous fibres.
According to “The Advertiser” on April 2, 2017, numerous educational institutions are having level two contamination’s of fibrous materials that can cause cancer.
Among the incidents related to fibrous products in schools, including:
- A school in NSW in September 2015 – after a fire in the school, the findings revealed that the materials containing harmful fibres might have existed in the movable older-style classroom.
- A Melbourne school playground – a child found fragments containing AC sheeting after playing.
- A Perth school in July 2016 – children did a demolition of fibrous fragments for making ‘fairy dust’.
- Northern Territory schools – 24 students from the schools bought rock samples in science education kits that contain fibrous materials.
- a Queensland teacher – the teacher was diagnosed with cancer as the effect of working with equipment made from materials containing dangerous fibres.
- a Hobart primary school – in mid-September, low level of fibrous materials were identified in materials used for constructing the schools.
What is Level Two of Contamination?
Asbestos contamination is divided into three levels:
- Level one is ACM that is in good condition though it has the possibility of getting broken or fragmented, and the material is fastened to a matrix, for example, vinyl tiles or ACM fencing. Also, the fibrous material that cannot get through a 7 x 7 mm sieve. ACM poses a low risk for human’s health.
- Level two is FA that fibrous material is in deteriorated condition such as crumbled or broken by a pressure of a hand. FA includes a badly weathered ACM and the material is in the form of loose fibre like insulation products. FA and ACM can easily be detected through visual inspection.
- Level three is AF. It compasses free asbestos fibres, a small bundle of fibres as well as ACM fragments that get through a 7 x 7 mm sieve. It can causes a serious respiration hazard if it gets airborne.
Risk of Contamination
Fibrous materials generate risk to human health through fibres inhalation. Once fibres stay in the lungs, they can cause aggressive ailments. The ailments might include:
- Lung cancer
- Rare cancer mesothelioma
The government requires the school regulator to make sure that the place is safe and free from any hazardous material for school, children and employee. Therefore, every school is required to have an ACM register. The register is a report containing important information about the presence and location of suspected or detected fibrous materials in school areas. The report was based on the inspection and asbestos testing conducted by a professional assessor.
The register should be continuously revised. It must be updated annually. If there is recent information relating to the finding of products containing hazardous fibres, the information should be integrated to the existing register.
The school register provides recommendations to people working on the sites with the chance of encountering any materials containing dangerous fibres. Having information on how to detect products containing hazardous fibres can also assists teachers in maintaining a safe environment for students and employees in schools.
For more details on the presence of products containing dangerous fibres in NWS schools, you can find the information here.
Inspection and Testing
In order to get the register, the schools must perform inspection and asbestos testing for materials containing harmful fibres. There is a high possibility that school buildings built before the 1980s contain some types of ACMs. In the past, ACM was widely used for house, industrial and commercial buildings because of its quality. It is resilience to electricity, water, fire and other chemicals. Thus, the material was extensively used in construction all over Australia.
Fibrous material can be found almost in every corner. In schools, you can find fibrous products in:
- Worn soundproofing material
- Broken wallboard or plaster
- Brittle floor tiles, ceiling panels, or roofing
- Chipped paint
- Older heating and AC equipment
Inspection cannot be done merely by looking at the object because the fibre is so small that cannot be detected with naked eyes. An expert needs to check it under the microscope. In accordance with the law, schools have to consult a competent person to do sampling and asbestos testing procedures. The testing is best done in a NATA accredited lab to identify the existence of the fibrous products.
A well-trained person is required in handling the sampling since the work is highly related with deadly materials that might cause a serious health risk. Wrong treatment can cause some damages and cause the fibres to become airborne. That is why DIY is not strongly recommended.
In order to have an inclusive register, you will need to hire a qualified assessor. Our members are ready to assist you with your testing project. Through Asbestos Watch Port Macquarie, you will be connected with trusted contractors that have obtained certification for performing jobs related to friable or non-friable products. Moreover, they have followed some training and own an A-Class license.
Asbestos testing Port Macquarie services provided by our endorsed contractors are available to help you solving your problems for testing the suspected elements in schools. Our approved contractors have four main services for your convenience, including:
If you need to complete a control plan for your removal planning, feel free to contact our trusted contractors. They will be available to provide the service. As for disposal, it will be done in compliance with the requirements from the local authority. A clean and safe disposal is what our member contractors can assure you.
Services VS Prices
What our trusted contractors can promise you is that for every service that you requested, you will be charged with a value price. No extra cost because you can calculate the total amount that you need to spend by requesting three quotes from our endorsed contractors for free. So, if you use their services, you can do some estimation in advance before the beginning of your project.
If your main priority is the safety of your students and employees, the only thing to do is to contact our approved contractors. For the future of the students, get reliable asbestos testing Port Macquarie services through us now.