Asbestos training courses outline the necessary procedures for safe risk assessment of asbestos containing material (ACM). Asbestos awareness training is an important part of workplace health and safety.
You will find your asbestos training gives relevant instructions in sampling and analysis of ACM. It is important that samples of materials suspected of containing asbestos are taken only by competent persons and are analysed only by accredited laboratories. The sample should be representative of the suspected ACM (e.g. for the walls of multi-storey buildings, at least one sample should be taken on each floor). If there are any variations in the appearance, texture or colour of the material, additional samples should be taken.
The samples should be adequately labelled to enable identification of the address and specific location from which the material was sampled and should include the date of sampling and the batch identification number.
Where necessary, any damage caused by the sampling of a suspected ACM should be repaired without causing further disturbance to the ACM. If there are inaccessible areas that are likely to contain ACM, the person with control should presume that asbestos is present.
Rather than taking samples to determine whether a material contains asbestos, the person with control may simply presume the material contains asbestos. Once such a presumption has been made, the material must be treated as an ACM, with work practices and disposal criteria as required for the presence of asbestos, until the material is removed or testing has confirmed that it does not, in fact, contain asbestos.
The list of common ACM may be used as an aid in determining which materials, if any, may be presumed to contain asbestos. The full list should be found within the asbestos awareness training course.
As indicated earlier, if there are inaccessible areas that are likely to contain ACM the person with control should presume that asbestos is present in these areas. For example, it may be reasonable to presume that wall cavities or ceiling spaces contain ACM such as asbestos insulation.
It may also be more cost effective in other circumstances to apply the presumption instead of sampling and analysing suspected ACM, as would otherwise be required to rule out the presence of asbestos.
The workplace’s register of ACM must state all the presumptions made about materials in the workplace. For example, a generic presumption statement in the register might read, ‘All wall cavities are presumed to contain asbestos’ or ‘All underground conduits are presumed to contain asbestos.’
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