A Complete Guide to Asbestos Encapsulation and Its Management
Asbestos is a hazardous item that needs to be managed properly because of the health risks attached to it. According to the Health and Safety at Work regulations 2016, workplace and other businesses need to adopt asbestos management to safeguard the health of employees.
Factories and industries where there is a possibility of finding asbestos, are implementing various methods like asbestos encapsulation and removal. Nowadays, encapsulation has become the most popular and viable option because it is cheap as compared to the removal of the same.
Now, when somebody finds asbestos in his home or workplace, he usually opts for its removal. Many a time, contractors also ask for its complete removal, which is usually costly. But, encapsulation is a more cheap and plausible option that has umpteen benefits.
Here are the benefits of encapsulating asbestos:
- Hazards associated with asbestos are generally avoided by encapsulating it.
- It has a lesser cost attached with it.
- Repairs and covers the exposed part of the material.
- Helps the material to last long.
- Enhances overall appearance of the material.
- Hassle-free compared to complete removal.
As asbestos is a lethal material that can pose health diseases like Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, Lung cancer etc, it needs proper maintenance to shed off the risks. Thousands of industries including shipbuilding to manufacturing and power plants are exposed to this deadly material.
Now, to make proper plans for asbestos management, you need to keep the following things in mind:
- Locate the probable place of asbestos.
- Consult a contractor and make sure he follows proper procedure while encapsulating it, as disturbing the material can turn out to be unsafe.
- Take a note on when you are encapsulating it so you can maintain it better in the future.
- Keep the documentation related to the encapsulation and revise it at a minimum of 5 years.
Before encapsulating, keep the following things in mind to ensure a hassle-free service.
- You can encapsulate asbestos-containing material only if it is adhering firmly to the substance.
- Make sure that the encapsulation is technically possible. For example, if the material is in a position where encapsulation is not conceivable, it is better to remove it.
- The encapsulation should have characteristics of the original asbestos application so that you don't need to apply any other material. The common characteristics include thermal or acoustic insulation and fire resistance.
Additionally, make sure that there is no chance for the encapsulated material to absorb and retain water which will gradually cause the asbestos to drain away.
Methods of encapsulation
There are various methods of encapsulating asbestos that can suit your needs based on the ACM (asbestos-containing material). Here is a list of the popular methods used in encapsulating asbestos.
- Mechanical encapsulation
This method involves the use of paints or the use of board and sheet materials. While it is easy to put on the paints, fixing the asbestos with a board where you need screws can release fibres that can be critical. However, proper maintenance during the whole process can eliminate this risk.
- Penetrating or Spraying encapsulation
You can encapsulate brittle asbestos-containing material with a spray that can penetrate it with ease. This method has a lot of advantages over others as it deeply enters into the material giving it a firm, lightweight, and damage-resistant surface.
- Elastomeric coating
This method is popular as it gives protection for as long as 20 years. Liquid encapsulants when applied, give a uniform coating rendering impact resistance and elasticity to the surface.
- Epoxy resins
This is also one of the most popular encapsulants that include coatings, composite materials, and adhesives. Its sticky property helps it to stay on the surface giving an ultimate resistance to the asbestos-containing material.
When going for encapsulation, you should check that contractors take necessary steps and follow techniques while encapsulating, as the application requires different procedures.