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Asbestos-containing textured material was manufactured and utilised as a surfacing material on walls and ceilings, which was then finished with paint coatings.

Throughout the twentieth century, asbestos was regularly present in many paints and was used to lend dimension to walls and ceilings.

It became popular as manufacturers discovered that asbestos ingredients allowed liquid paint to flow smoothly and be stable in both hot and cold temperatures. Furthermore, Asbestos additives had been developed in order to enhance the colour of the paint.

Paints containing asbestos can be friable, especially if weathered and brittle, or when exposed to heat or sunlight.

One of Airsafe’s licensed asbestos assessors recently encountered a textured paint containing asbestos (see photographs) in very poor condition while completing an asbestos register for a commercial site.

A risk assessment was subsequently undertaken with the identified textured paint containing asbestos considered to pose an unacceptable asbestos exposure health and safety risk.

Airsafe ‘s licensed asbestos assessors completed a scope of remedial works for the subject material with the objective being to yield the area satisfactory with respect to health and safety.

I suspect I may have textured paint with asbestos: What should I do?

Sample testing

Airsafe offers asbestos testing services to identify the type of asbestos present. Airsafe is NATA accredited in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4964 — Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples. We collect samples for testing, then conduct testing in our state-of-the-art laboratory.

Our independence and NATA accreditation ensure sample integrity, and the high level of expertise of our staff means you can trust our test results. Our customer satisfaction and industry reputation are second to none.

Questions about textured paint with asbestos ? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

PSIs, or preliminary site investigations, are conducted to determine the relative risk of site contamination on a given parcel of land. PSIs are also known as Phase 1 reports. You should consider having a PSI report created if you are concerned about suspected contamination on a site or need to know whether a site is contaminated.

 

A review of the present site setting, a review of site historical and environmental records, and an inspection by an experienced environmental scientist who will assess the possibility of the site being contaminated should all be included in the PSI report. Source areas, pollutants of possible concern, relevant exposure pathways, and receptors of relevance should all be identified by the PSI.

Informed recommendations for additional examination (if potentially contaminated) can be given based on this clear understanding, or the PSI may be sufficient to demonstrate that you are meeting your duties. In most circumstances, if enough information is available and the PSI determines that the location is not possibly hazardous, further investigation is not necessary.

 

Whatever the situation, you can count on Airsafe to conduct the necessary environmental assessment to guarantee that you satisfy all of your statutory environmental duties in the most cost-effective way possible.

 

Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338 today if you require a PSI, or preliminary site investigation.

AIRSAFE is the first laboratory in Australia to become NATA accredited to perform paint analysis for elevated levels of lead using our Portable XRF analysis and our validated in-house method.

XRF (X-ray fluorescence) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials.

NATA accreditation provides that confidence. Being a NATA accredited facility builds credibility in an organisation’s products and services. Overall, accreditation creates confidence by providing a structured and reliable framework for the quality of results ensuring their traceability, comparability and validity.

This in-situ­ analysis is used to obtain qualitative data to assist decisions on a further sampling strategy. Airsafe can do this using our validated operating procedures and instrument set-up (often described as a ‘calibration’ or ‘calibration check’ in the manufacturer’s literature) subject to limitations.

Lead is an accumulative poison that can be inhaled or swallowed when a process produces lead dust, fumes, or mist. Lead can be found in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Dust and flakes from lead paint are the most common sources of lead exposure.

Benefits of XRF testing

On-site testing via XRF is non-destructive, saves time and allows us to test a greater volume.

Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338 today to get testing!

Do you have an unexplained health issue that can’t be attributed to anything specific? Returning to work after the COVID-19 pandemic and feeling unwell is not an uncommon problem.

Workers spend more time in the office than we do in our own homes. Office air quality is known to influence our physical and mental health.

Sick building syndrome is a phenomenon that involves a variety of symptoms that occur in the occupants of a building. This feeling of ill health increases sickness absenteeism and causes a decrease in the productivity of the workers.

“Headache, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odours, hoarseness of voice, allergies, colds, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.

The cause of the symptoms is not known. It reduces work efficiency and increases absenteeism. Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building, although lingering effects of toxins can occur.”

This syndrome is increasingly becoming a major occupational hazard, the cause, management, and prevention of this condition has been brought to Airsafe’s attention to investigate.

Occupational hygienists at Airsafe we recently engaged to address the indoor air quality of office space near a busy highway. The results were alarming. However, the extensive range of technical equipment, coupled with a tailored management plan provided by Airsafe allowed alleviation measures to be put in place.

Need help with a workplace indoor air quality assessment? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

Professor Gill North was one of those inspiring people who turn personal misfortune into action to improve the lives of others.

After a distinguished career as a law academic and corporate governance expert, Professor North was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. After a three year battle with the disease, she died on 23 December 2021.

Professor North never worked with asbestos, so her exposure wasn’t workplace-related. Instead, she was one of the third wave of asbestos victims – home renovators who expose themselves to asbestos without knowing the dangers. Before her death, she gave several media interviews, speaking movingly and compellingly about the need for awareness and action:

Professor North’s experience led her to start an organisation, Asbestos Awareness Australia, to start a public conversation about asbestos and to call for public health and policy action to prevent further needless deaths. In a survey of 43,000 Australian households, the organisation found that more than two thirds lack basic knowledge of the nature and risks of asbestos.

In response to this lack of awareness and the ongoing risk from asbestos being so common in Australian homes, Professor North’s organisation is calling for specific reforms:

Airsafe has long believed that government at all levels in Australia needs to take the risks of asbestos more seriously. We applaud Professor North’s legacy, and support her call for reform to save lives.

Book an asbestos inspection today

Airsafe are the experts in asbestos inspections throughout NSW. From Sydney to Newcastle and beyond, we have conducted countless asbestos audits that will provide you with completed and accurate documentation. To book an asbestos inspection in Sydney, NSW, contact us on 1300 888 338 today.

 

Airsafe was recently involved with remediation of a Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Property in conjunction with the class A friable licensed asbestos removal contractor BEasy and the Public Works Advisory.

The project involved the design and construction of a fully enclosed impermeable enclosure for the property to ensure no loose asbestos fibres escape during friable asbestos removal works. An independent Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA) was then assigned to the property to witness and endorse these enclosures and provide interim and final clearance certificates as the project progresses.

Once all internal strip out works were completed including the removal of wall and ceiling linings, interim certificates were issued by the LAA and the interior of the property was entirely covered in a blue tinted paint as an extra precautionary measure. These works were witnessed and endorsed by NSW Public Works Advisory prior to the next phase of works commencing.

Upon completion of asbestos removal works, demolition and soil remediation works commenced. The property was fully demolished including footings and nominated ancillary structures. 100mm depth of soil from the entire footprint of the house extending to a distance of 1 meter from the exterior gutter line around the perimeter of the house was excavated and disposed of as asbestos contaminated soil.

After completion of all asbestos removal, demolition and remediation activities the LAA undertook soil sampling at 12 locations to assess if any asbestos contamination remains on the property. A final clearance certificate was issued by the LAA and property was deemed rehabilitated to the fulfilment of the scope specification.

Need help with demolition and or remediation? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve relocated!

We had outgrown our old offices and were in desperate need of something considerably larger, as well as a place where we could fully immerse ourselves in our much-loved Airsafe identity.

Our former offices were fantastic; we created a lot of amazing memories and completed a lot of high profile projects there. Nevertheless, we couldn’t be more excited to move into our new offices and begin a new chapter.

Airsafe collaborated with Trinity Quality Interiors and Lead Architects to create an environment that everyone can be proud of.

Our new office has much better facilities that will benefit both us and our clients, including our new meeting room, a reception area, and significantly additional desk space to handle our continuing growth.

We were ecstatic to get our hands on our new digs, and as you can see, we didn’t hold back. We enthusiastically set up our laboratory and break out areas in preparation for holding training courses and industry nights whenever it becomes possible (we don’t do things half-heartedly).

We’re overjoyed to have finally settled into our new offices and gotten back into the swing of things.

Do stop by if you’re interested in any of our services, such as:

You won’t be able to miss us, and coffees are on us!

Plasterboard manufacturer USG Boral has issued a warning to customers that some of their fire-rated plasterboard products may be contaminated with asbestos.

The contamination affects fire-rated plasterboards containing vermiculite imported from China and was discovered in routine testing. The company has told builders to quarantine any USG Boral fire-rated plasterboard products pending further advice.

“Workers using USG Boral board need to demand the company inform them whether the products they are using are asbestos free,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“The company says the issue only affects its fire-rated plasterboard and that the level is 0.1% of the 3% vermiculite put into the board. Yet we know there is no safe level of asbestos exposure so construction businesses must take immediate steps to quarantine potentially contaminated products and ensure workers and customers are safe.”

USG Boral is advising customers to quarantine the following fire-rated plasterboard products and refrain from installing, distributing or supplying them to customers:

USG Boral says it has stopped using the Chinese-sourced vermiculite and will switch to another source and is arranging for the safe removal of all unused Chinese-sourced vermiculite from their facilities at Camellia, Port Melbourne, and Pinkenba, and is testing all finished products made using vermiculite as an ingredient.

How can Airsafe help?

Sample testing

Airsafe offers asbestos testing services to identify the type of asbestos present. Airsafe is NATA accredited in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4964 — Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples. We collect samples for testing, then conduct testing in our state-of-the-art laboratory.

Our independence and NATA accreditation ensure sample integrity, and the high level of expertise of our staff means you can trust our test results. Our customer satisfaction and industry reputation are second to none.

Need help with testing USG Boral board products? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

With home renovations and DIY becoming more and more popular, Aussies need to be aware of the risk of being exposed to asbestos.

Is my home likely to contain asbestos?

Asbestos cement products were first made in Australia in the 1920s and were widely used in construction materials from the mid-1940s until the late 1980s.

These asbestos cement materials were phased out in the 1980s in favour of asbestos-free alternatives. As of December 31, 2003, all types of asbestos were prohibited from being manufactured, used, reused, imported, transported, stored, or sold.

If your home was built before 1990, it’s likely to contain some form of asbestos. Asbestos is most commonly found in eaves, internal and exterior wall cladding, ceilings (especially in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries), and fences.

Asbestos and your health

Asbestos becomes a health concern when its fibres are inhaled. Because asbestos fibres are bonded together in solid cement, undisturbed asbestos cement materials in good condition are not a health risk.

However, if the material is damaged or crumbling (what we call ‘friable’), or if it’s disturbed by breaking, cutting, drilling or sanding, fibres are released into the air.

There are also some asbestos products that are friable by nature, such as spray-on insulation or asbestos-rope gaskets in wood stoves and heaters. There is no safe form of these products.

Damaged asbestos cement materials, and all friable asbestos products, must be carefully managed to prevent the release of fibres into the air.

Asbestos exposure risks for householders

Accidental exposure to asbestos fibres can happen even during minor household maintenance. It can come from unintentionally putting your foot through a ceiling sheet, putting up a new towel rail, or even cleaning up garden debris.

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, take prompt steps to reduce any further exposure. For example, you could remove broken pieces, wipe down surfaces with a wet cloth, close doors and windows, or even temporarily relocate while the work is being carried out.

Some particularly risky activities are:

How Airsafe can help

At Airsafe, we’re nationally recognised as experts on asbestos inspection and testing. In a recent article on Domain, we’re quoted on the importance of testing samples for asbestos before undertaking home renovations.

We’re accredited by NATA, the body that accredits testing laboratories. You can check out the details of our accreditation on NATA’s website.

If you need samples tested for asbestos, Airsafe can not only do the testing, we can help you make sense of the findings.

Contact Airsafe on 1300 869 598 or email info@airsafe.net.au

An Asbestos Management Plan is a document that helps people managing a building prevent exposure to asbestos and protect site personnel and visitors.

The Asbestos Management Plan is intended to be a simple, centrally placed document that includes:

Asbestos management plans can be recorded on paper, but nowadays companies often find it simpler to record their plans electronically.

Asbestos management plans can be either asset-based (for complex buildings) or project-based (for construction projects).

Asbestos management plans should include plans for ongoing asbestos investigations to manage risks and to comply with Work Health and Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia guidelines.

Who needs an asbestos management plan?

You don’t need an asbestos management plan if your workplace was built after 31 December 2003.

For buildings constructed earlier, you need an asbestos management plan if asbestos has been identified in your workplace, either based on surveys or asbestos registration. If you’ve had a survey and no asbestos has been found, you don’t need an asbestos management plan.

What to include in an asbestos management plan

A good asbestos management plan includes:

Access to an asbestos management plan

Asbestos management plans must be available all workers performing tasks in the building, and all health and safety personnel in the workplace. They help licensed asbestos evaluators and hygiene personnel carry out accurate asbestos surveys and develop further asbestos management plans to maintain a safe working environment.

Other risks

If you are concerned that your building has lead paints, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), ozone-depleting substances (ODS), or other harmful substances such as mould, carry out a full hazardous materials survey so these risks are evaluated at the same time as your asbestos survey. This allows you to safely manage the risks associated with the presence and interference of these substances during routine removal or maintenance work.

These other substances don’t just present risks in their own right; knowing about them is also important for managing the risk of asbestos.

Need help with an asbestos management plan? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.