Asbestos Cement Sheeting - UnionSafe by liuhongmeiyes


This Fact Sheet will tell you what you need to know and what you need to do regarding
Asbestos Cement Sheeting, also known as AC Sheeting.

It sets out the dangers of Asbestos Cement Sheeting, appropriate treatment, cleaning,
planning and roof safety, personal protective equipment, handling and disposal of it.

It also has a checklist for working with Asbestos Cement Sheeting.

This Fact Sheet should be used in conjunction with the UnionSafe Asbestos Fact

This Fact Sheet is recommended as a guide only and is not a substitute for professional
or legal advice. If you need clarification or further advice please consult your Union for
further information.

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Asbestos-cement sheeting that is not in a good condition or damaged (for example; hail
storm damage or badly weathered) easily crumbles releasing airborne asbestos fibres.

Fibres can also be released if breakage occurs during dismantling and removal.

These fibres, if inhaled, can be deadly, causing cancers and mesothelioma.

As a consequence, the removal of aged or damaged asbestos cement sheets can
present major health risks.

There is also a risk to health from asbestos when the surface of asbestos-cement
sheeting is disturbed (e.g. from hailstorms and cyclones).

Weathering of the asbestos-cement sheeting to the extent that the sheet surface is
cracked or broken can also result in the erosion of the asbestos-cement with the
possibility of the release of asbestos fibres.

Fungal growth covers the sheet and hence tends to protect the surface from

Unless cleaning is required for purposes of water quality on a building roof catchment, it
should not be undertaken because of its impact on the fungal growth.

In most circumstances, asbestos-cement products are best left undisturbed.

Removal of asbestos-cement products does not need to be undertaken unless it is
suspected that they may be releasing asbestos fibres into the air because of their poor

Unnecessary removal may pose a greater health risk than simply leaving these
products alone as long as the products are likely to remain undisturbed.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                     Page 2
Guttering and other associated roofing components that are manufactured from
asbestos-cement should be dealt with in the same way as asbestos-cement sheeting.

Where treatment of asbestos-cement sheeting is considered essential, a method that
does not interrupt the matrix (or make up) of the asbestos-cement sheeting should be

Chemical treatment and sealing is the preferred method of treating asbestos-cement
roofing, as there is negligible disturbance of the asbestos-cement matrix as opposed to
disturbance from a high-pressure water jet.

The method usually involves the application of a fungicide either separately or included
in the base primer followed by subsequent applications of chemical sealant.

The sealant should not deteriorate when subjected to adverse environmental conditions.
The spraying of fungicides should be curtailed during high wind situations.

Where there is a concern because of the use of chemicals associated with cleaning, the
appropriate respiratory protection should be chosen.

When working with chemicals, reference should be made to the Material Safety Data
Sheet (MSDS) for information on the personal protective equipment to be used and any
specific precautions that are to be undertaken with the chemicals.

See also the UnionSafe Fact Sheet on Hazardous Chemicals.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                   Page 3
There is a significant potential health hazard associated with high-pressure water
cleaning methods. High pressure cleaning with a lance that is not enclosed will disturb
the surface of the asbestos-cement sheet and result in the release of asbestos fibres,
which may become airborne.

In addition, when dry, the residue contained in the over spray from the lance may
contain asbestos fibres that can be distributed in the immediate area. Consequently, an
unacceptably high risk of exposure to operators and members of the public from
asbestos is created.

If there is any potential exposure of employees, self-employed workers, or members of
the public to asbestos fibres, employers should ensure appropriate respiratory
protection is available.

Airborne asbestos fibre contamination should be minimised by observing correct work

The employer should ensure that people involved in the removal or treatment of
asbestos-cement sheeting undertake safety training and familiarisation with the
proposed work before commencing.

All employees involved in the removal of asbestos cement sheeting must follow the
recommended safe work method procedures, which must be developed by the
employer including contractors and any other personnel involved.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                  Page 4
Although asbestos-cement sheeting may be capable of carrying some distributed load
and give the impression of a surface that is solid enough to bear a person’s weight, in
most instances asbestos-cement sheeting is liable to shatter without warning under a
person’s weight.

For this reason, roofs that are sheathed in asbestos-cement sheeting are included in
those roofs known as “brittle roofs”. Only people who have the knowledge, experience
and resources necessary to allow them to work at heights safely should undertake the
removal of asbestos-cement sheeting from a roof.

In undertaking the removal or treatment of asbestos-cement sheeting the appropriate
personal protective equipment should be worn.

All personal protective respiratory equipment (PRE) should be of an approved type.

For example, respiratory protective devices manufactured to the standard AS/NZS

Check that all respiratory protective devices meet this standard.

There is a wide range of respiratory protection available for airborne asbestos dust.

In general, the nature of the asbestos work and the probable maximum concentrations
of asbestos dust that would be encountered in this work determine the selection of a
particular respirator.

The proper fitting of respiratory protective equipment requires the use of some type of
“fit” test to determine an adequate match between the face piece of the respirator and
face of the wearer.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                  Page 5
The personal characteristics of the wearer will affect the facial fit of the respirator,
especially the amount of facial hair, or whether glasses are worn. The supplier of the
respiratory protective equipment should be consulted for further advice.

The following list provides, in approximate order of increasing efficiency, an indication of
some respirators, which may be used for protection against asbestos dust.

   Disposable, half-face particulate respirators
   Half-face, particulate filter (cartridge) respirator
   Powered, air-purifying, ventilated helmet or hood respirator
   Full-face, particulate filter (cartridge) respirator
   Full-face powered air-purifying particulate respirator
   Full-face, positive pressure demand airline respirator
   Full suit or hood, continuous flow, airline respirator.

Where significant amounts of asbestos dust may be present because asbestos-cement
sheets have to be broken to remove them from a confined area e.g. ceiling of a room,
the wearing of disposable overalls and gloves should occur.

Removed sheets should be stacked on polyethylene sheeting, wrapped and sealed into
appropriate bundles for disposal.

Broken sheeting and associated wastes should be placed directly into disposal bins
(skips) that have been lined with polyethylene sheeting or placed in heavy duty, 0.2 mm
thick polyethylene plastic bags.

The bags should be no larger than 1200 mm by 900 mm. Bins and bags should be
sealed for removal. To make handling and sealing easier, bags should only be partially

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                       Page 6
All waste containing asbestos must be:

    Kept damp (you must prevent excess runoff water)

    Collected, labelled and sealed using recommended plastic or leak proof containers

    Stored in labelled lined bins or a leak proof container, and covered

    Stored in a secure area

    Removed from the site as soon as practicable and/or

    Collected and stored in a manner approved by the EPA or an appropriate disposal

Note: EPA legislation requires friable asbestos waste to be collected into plastic bags.

All asbestos waste must be transported:

    In a covered leak-proof vehicle and/or
    In a manner approved by the EPA.

Note: only vehicles licensed by the EPA can transport friable asbestos waste.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                   Page 7
    Asbestos waste in any form must be disposed of in a manner – and at a site –
     approved by the EPA or an appropriate disposal authority.

    Vehicles and their containers must be cleaned before leaving the landfill site.

    Contact the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and local council for transport
     requirements of asbestos waste and approved waste facilities. Most local councils
     and WorkCover NSW require tipping receipts for proof of proper disposal.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                  Page 8
                        WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
If these products are maintained in good order they present no significant health risk.
However, safety precautions must be taken when working on any product containing
asbestos in a way that is likely to generate dust.

All work procedures should be devised to minimise the release of dust and fibres. When
working with bonded asbestos products you should:

    Use personal protective equipment including coveralls and a suitable respirator. If
     coveralls are not disposable, then the employer is responsible for laundering
     contaminated clothing. Coveralls with Velcro type seals are not suitable for
     asbestos work

    Use non-powered hand tools as these generate much less dust. Do not use power
     tools i.e. abrasive cutters and sanders, on asbestos cement products

    Use wet methods to dampen down material, or use suitable vacuum attachments
     fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to reduce the release of
     dust. Work in well ventilated areas where possible

    Use drop sheets to collect debris. Precautions should be taken to prevent slip and
     trip hazards

    Use wet methods, or only use vacuums fitted with HEPA filters for cleaning.
     Caution – do not use household vacuum cleaners which are not fitted with HEPA

    Dispose of waste and collected dust in plastic bags which are clearly labelled
     asbestos waste

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                   Page 9
    Do not abrade or scrub surface. Pre-seal with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) sealant or
     use paint stripper to remove paint.

It is illegal to reuse or water-blast asbestos cement. You can be fined under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 if you do.

Special work procedures should be followed when removing asbestos cement products
(including sheeting, guttering and downpipes) from buildings and other structures:

    For external work, close all windows and doors on the building

    Rope off the work areas below where the work is to be carried out if there is no
     ceiling to the building

    When working on roofs, appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent
     workers from falling off the roof, such as suitable fall restrain devices

    Where practical, seal the asbestos cement with a PVA sealant or wet with water.
     This should be done well before removal, to ensure that workers do not slip on a
     wet roof

    Wetting down may not be necessary on previously painted or seal AC products

    Coverall and suitable respiratory protection is to be work during the removal and
     clean up process

    Gutters are to be wet cleaned and all contaminated waste material collected must
     be disposed of in an approved manner

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                 Page 10
This Fact Sheet is recommended as a guide only and is not a substitute for professional
or legal advice. If you need clarification or further advice please consult your Union for
further information.

Use this Fact Sheet in conjunction with the UnionSafe Asbestos Fact Sheets.

1abfc7fb-f84d-49af-8f5d-a09e43fc0398.doc                                                     Page 11

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