Asbestos can become a serious health hazard if it's not handled correctly
At ATL our teams work with asbestos everyday, they know how to keep themselves safe along with everyone else around them.
When it comes to asbestos, safety is paramount. If handled incorrectly or damaged it can quickly become a serious and costly health hazard that needs to be addressed. Asbestos can cause cancer and other severe health complications if its fibres or dust is inhaled. Many buildings or properties have the potential to contain some form of asbestos due to its common use in over 3000 products. Knowing where asbestos is located in your property and having an effective strategy in place to manage it is critical for the safety of anyone working in or on your workplace or home.
ATL can provide a range of asbestos services, all of which comply with the current asbestos regulations and industry best practice to help business and property owners manage their asbestos risks in a safe, simple and excellent manner.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral of which there are three main types that are generally found in New Zealand; Chrysotile (white asbestos), which is the most common, Amosite (brown asbestos) and Crocidolite (blue asbestos).
Asbestos is a fibrous material that can easily break down into millions of smaller fibres or a fine dust that is colourless and odourless and can easily be carried in the air if it is damaged or deteriorating. If inhaled by someone working or living in the area, the fibres can cause serious health problems such as cancer, respiratory conditions or death. The effects of asbestos exposure can take several years before symptoms start showing.
There is no safe level for exposure to asbestos dust or fibres, so it is important that everyone understands the danger and has the knowledge to take the right precautions to keep themselves and everyone else safe.
Friable & non-friable
Asbestos is categorgised into two key types by the removalists and the regulations - “friable” and “non-friable”. Friable describes any material containing asbestos that can easily be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry. Friable asbestos poses the most risk of inhalation due to dust and fibres being released into the air.
Non-friable describes any material containing asbestos that cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.
It is important to know that non-friable asbestos can quickly become friable if it is damaged, or is unsealed or exposed to weather elements; that is why there are specific controls and processes that must be followed when working with any asbestos.
Where is asbestos found?
Because of its low cost, strength and the resistance it provides in sound, fire and chemical protection,
asbestos was widely used in building materials up until the late 1980’s.
It was only banned (except by special exemption) in 2016 resulting in some new materials still containing asbestos. As a result, there are a wide range of places that asbestos can be found in and around buildings, many of which you might not expect.
Asbestos was often mixed with other products like cement, plastic paints or glue, which makes it very hard to identify by sight alone or without having a sample tested in an approved laboratory.