Dealing With Materials Containing Asbestos In Your Commercial Building

Due to its increased durability and fire-resistance properties, products containing asbestos were used in constructing most residential, commercial and industrial buildings in the past. That’s why you will find asbestos in significant quantities in older buildings built well into the 1980s.

Some of the potential locations of asbestos on buildings include walls, flooring, hot water tanks, ceilings, roofs, lift ropes, water pipes, insulation, and more. Owners, managers, workers, and contractors must be aware of asbestos-related risks and understand how to identify and manage them.

In most cases, asbestos containing construction materials, if left undisturbed, pose minimal risk to the building occupants. It is when these asbestos containing products are disturbed during the process of demolition and/or construction that the material particles become airborne and pose a severe risk to those who may come into contact with it.

In Canada, working with asbestos is considered a high-risk task. In most cases, it’s necessary to notify the Occupational Health And Safety Division before starting the process. Before we discuss how you can deal with asbestos-containing materials in your building, let’s discuss some of their harmful effects on the human body.

Negative Effects Of Asbestos On Your Health

Performing tasks such as repairing, maintaining, or renovating a commercial establishment might lead to the release of asbestos fibers into the air. Inhaling asbestos-containing materials can cause severe health-related issues, including irreversible, chronic, and life-threatening lung diseases.

Constant exposure to asbestos can result in ailments like asbestosis, lung cancer, and others. However, with proper handling, asbestos doesn’t pose an immediate health risk. Now, we will discuss some of the specific techniques you can follow to manage and remove asbestos from your workplace.

Handling And Removing Asbestos From A Commercial Building

Any substance present in your building that could have traces of asbestos is considered an asbestos-containing substance and must be removed from your premises using the following specific procedures. To control asbestos exposure in your workplace, you must ensure to take the following critical steps:

Identify And Create An Asbestos-Containing Substance Inventory In Your Building

As a building owner or tenant, you must identify and create an asbestos-related material inventory in your commercial building. This can be done by reviewing your building’s architectural plans and having a qualified asbestos testing agency carry out a comprehensive inspection of your premises.

Inspecting And Maintaining Your Inventory For Possible Damage

After proper identification and inventory list formation, you must carefully inspect for potential building damage identification. To come up with the safest handling approach, your team must assess key areas like asbestos use (ceiling tile or thermal insulation), the degree of damage, asbestos fibers releasing into the air, and other related aspects.

Some of the methods you can use to address asbestos-related material can include removing part of all of the asbestos (abatement), sealing the asbestos surface (encapsulation), and/or creating an airtight barrier over the asbestos (enclosure).

Provide Safe Work Training To All Staff Who Work Near Asbestos

It’s best to have certain safe work procedures in the workplace before starting work near asbestos-containing material on your premises. The idea is to prevent potential worker exposure to asbestos through safety work culture. While it’s vital to know the whereabouts of asbestos and avoid disturbing the material, it’s even more important to learn how to handle, remove, or dispose of asbestos fibers.

About BelVan Construction

BelVan Construction is an experienced commercial contractor based in Edmonton, Alberta. We offer top-quality commercial construction and renovation services across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC. Visit our website to learn more about our professional contracting services or contact us for personalized service.


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