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Asbestos Awareness - Pressure Washing

Posted by Richard Whitlam on 4 November 2022

Think twice before pressure washing!

November is national asbestos awareness month.  With asbestos still installed in many buildings and asbestos-related diseases continuing to increase among Australians as a direct result of exposure to asbestos fibres during home renovations. The importance of increasing awareness and educating Australians on how to manage asbestos safely in accordance with regulations cannot be overstated. With hopefully some good weather on the way many people will turn to cleaning up their properties to get ready for summer.

Cleaning the outside of our homes is something a lot of us don’t give too much thought to. We get out the high pressure hose and start to get rid of all the grime that has built up over the months (or years depending on how long you have left it). Unfortunately, there is one danger that many of us won’t even consider before we start in on this task – Asbestos.

Asbestos is most dangerous when the fibres are released. The risk of fibre release is increased when abrasive cleaners (such as pressure hoses) are used on the material, especially if it is already beginning to wear away. Pressure washing can cause major fibre release by breakdown of the material. This, in turn, can cause the fibres to potentially be spread over neighbouring properties if not treated with care.

If you are looking to paint over asbestos cement sheets, especially those that need to be prepped prior to painting, you should use non-abrasive cleaning techniques, such as use of low pressure water.

If the asbestos material is degraded or in poor condition, it is recommended that it be replaced with a non-asbestos product, rather than painting. This can be more costly, but is safer in the long run. Asbestos cleanup after an event such as high pressure cleaning can be expensive, and not just to the originally affected home or business. If abrasive cleaning of asbestos materials is carried out, fibres can potentially be released and spread to neighbouring properties, causing the clean-up area to be much larger than prior to the incident occurring. It can also result in fines of potentially tens of thousands of dollars, so don’t risk it; call the experts first!

If you suspect a material may be asbestos, it is always better to treat it as such until you can have it tested by a professional. In this area, Hazcon have the experience and expertise to assist you. Give our friendly team a call on 1800 429 266.

Author:Richard Whitlam


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