Safe asbestos removal by ATL Group meets new regulation requirements
From Northland to the Bay of Plenty, ATL Group has been providing safe Asbestos removal solutions for the commercial and residential sectors for over 30 years. And, if the need is there, the company will take on industrial and commercial projects nationwide as well as the Pacific Islands and Australia.
Whatever the project or problem, states ATL, the company is capable of engineering a solution. “Our management team has experience across the wider construction and engineering sectors and our partnerships with other key contractors ensures that we can tailor a solution for any project. We regularly provide services to clients in the following sectors: manufacturing, marine industry, commercial property groups, warehousing and logistics, infrastructure and critical services providers, defence, education facilities, councils and government departments, hospitals, railways and locomotive operators.”
Founded in 1982, ATL Group believes it has established itself as a leading expert in New Zealand in the safe removal and management of asbestos materials, as well as having expertise at undertaking demolition works in sensitive environments.
ATL management and teams come from asbestos, construction and engineering backgrounds and that, combined with various strategic partners, gives the company the ability to develop solutions for its customers that consider their wider needs and to provide full end-toend solutions for asbestos removal, demolition and re- build works.
ATL Group is a member of the New Zealand Demolition and Asbestos Association, sits on the Asbestos Sub- Committee and is an approved, accredited services suppliers to many of New Zealand’s largest organisations and government departments.
WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral, or more correctly a group of minerals, that was and still is mined out of the ground. It was used very widely in building materials and engineering applications due to its desirable physical properties of sound absorption, tensile strength, fire resistance, insulation properties and resistance to chemical change/ damage. It is also very cheap. The most common types of asbestos used in applications in New Zealand are Chrysotile (white asbestos), Amosite ( brown asbestos) and Crocidolite ( blue asbestos). Asbestos can be discussed as “friable”, which means in a powder form or able to be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry, or “non-friable”, which means not friable, in which asbestos fibres that have been bonded in cement, bitumen, plastic or other bonding matrixes. Non-friable asbestos poses a negligible risk, unless it is disturbed by grinding, cutting or sanding.
WHEN WAS ASBESTOS MOST COMMONLY USED?
Asbestos was most commonly used in materials in New Zealand between the early 1960’s and late 1980’s.
DOES NEW ZEALAND STILL IMPORT ASBESTOS?
Importation of raw asbestos is now banned. Asbestos can still be brought into New Zealand if it forms part of a finished product. Because New Zealand trades with other partners who still use asbestos in their products, we do occasionally get materials that still have asbestos content coming into New Zealand. Most commonly, these products originate from India, China and South East Asia although other origins are also possible.
WHERE CAN ASBESTOS BE FOUND?
Asbestos can be found in many applications across residential properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, vehicles, plant and equipment. It is important to note that even after 35 years’ experience we still find new applications where asbestos has been used. Most commonly encountered asbestos includes: • Pipe lagging materials. • Asbestos fibrolite cladding and roofing materials. • Limpet applied pure asbestos in penetrations, under roofing material
and on a variety of other building elements. • Gaskets in vehicles, plant and equipment. • Vinyl flooring and flooring underlay. • Texture ceiling coatings. • Paints. • Waterproofing membranes. • Old mastic materials. • Bitumen flooring, roofing and binding materials. • Older plasterboards.
WHY IS ASBESTOS DANGEROUS?
Asbestos is a fibrous material that can break down to incredibly small fibres. When asbestos is disturbed, the larger fibres get broken. These breaks create much smaller fibres that can be only microns in size and are easily carried in the air. When respired, these little fibres, which can be hook or barb shaped, can go deep into the lungs and lodge in there. The human body is not able to absorb or dislodge these fibres and over time they present a risk for Asbestosis and Mesothelioma.
I HAVE ASBESTOS IN MY BUILDING. HOW WORRIED SHOULD I BE?
The mere presence of asbestos is not itself necessarily a serious cause for alarm. The t ype of asbestos material and the condition that it is in plays a key role in whether the material poses no threat at all or an extreme threat. Some materials contain a very small percentage of asbestos and what lit tle asbestos there is can be well bound within the matrix of the material. Other materials or application can have very high or pure asbestos content that is only very loosely bound together. If the material is in good condition, is painted in an encapsulating material or is not being disturbed then it may actually pose very lit tle risk. Contact ATL Group to discuss your situation if you are concerned that you might be exposed to asbestos.
I BELIEVE THAT I HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS FIBRE, WHAT DO I DO?
If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, it is best that you contact your trusted health care professional who will be able to talk through this with you.
You can also register your exposure with Worksafe NZ, which will provide you and your health care professional with information on the effects of exposure to asbestos. This does not need to related to paid work.
“I would like to thank you and your team for the fantastic efforts you have been putting in at St Benedict Street of late. You have been an outstanding subcontractor to deal with and we truly appreciate the efforts you and your team have gone through, and we look forward to not only completing this job with you but also using you in the f uture with our on- going cladding remediation projects.” – James Corric, Stanley Group
WHO CAN WORK WITH ASBESTOS?
Most work involving asbestos is now prohibited by the HSWA Asbestos Regulations 2016. Some exemptions are permitted, including: maintenance and servicing, transportation and disposal, sampling and identification. Any of those activities must be performed in accordance with the regulations.
In order to remove certain types or quantities of asbestos, a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) must hold an Asbestos Removal Licence, issued by Worksafe NZ. A Class A Licence is required to remove any friable asbestos, and a Class B Licence is required to remove more than 10 sqm of non-friable asbestos, and the removal of any Asbestos Contaminated Dust or Debris (ACD) associated with the removal of non-friable asbestos.
No licence is required to remove less than 10 sqm of non-friable asbestos, any ACD associated with the removal of less than 10 sqm of non-friable asbestos or minor asbestos contamination.
WHAT SAFETY EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE USED WHEN HANDLING OR WORKING ON ASBESTOS?
Anyone entering an asbestos contaminated environment or working with asbestos in any way needs to wear the following personal protective equipment as a minimum: • Half face particulate respirator with a P2 Filter. • Type 5 – Category 3 Disposable overalls. • Impermeable boots that can be wet wiped clean.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT ATL WILL CONTROL ANY ASBESTOS FIBRE DISTURBED DURING MANAGEMENT OR REMOVAL WORKS?
On any project whether a small residential project or a large industrial or commercial site, a primary focus of the company’s work planning is how it will put in place controls that ensure that ATL does not create any additional contamination outside of the immediate work area, how it will ensure that the work area is decontaminated once removal work is complete and how it will safely manage the disposal of all asbestos waste.
WHAT EVIDENCE WILL I HAVE ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE WORK THAT THE AREA IS ACTUALLY SAFE FROM ASBESTOS FIBRE?
All licensed asbestos removal jobs must have clearance conducted by an independent licenced asbestos assessor, or an independent competent person. The clearance will include a thorough visual inspection and may include surface testing and air monitoring. A written Clearance Certificate, which states that there is no risk from asbestos fibres, must be supplied to you before the area is handed back to you for reoccupation.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT ATL GROUP WILL DO THE JOB SAFELY AND PROPERLY?
ATL Group has very strict procedures and health and safety management. This is to keep both clients and ATL staff safe when working with asbestos or any other hazardous material. ATL is fully insured, Notify all Asbestos Removal and Particularly Hazardous Work with WorkSafe NZ, and all projects are run by a trained Site Manager suitably competent for the project to which they are tasked. ATL Group promises it is uncompromising on delivering projects with procedural excellence. “It is our commitment to excellence in procedures and managing risk through health and safety planning that has allowed us to develop such a respectable list of high profile clients.”
HOW DO I KNOW THAT ATL GROUP IS LOOKING AFTER THE ENVIRONMENT AND DISPOSING OF ASBESTOS WASTE PROPERLY?
ATL has a fully auditable waste disposal process. All waste is disposed of only at approved disposal sites where deposits are fully recorded. The company maintains a register of all deliveries and disposals of asbestos materials and encourages clients to ask it to explain to them how it ensures that all waste it manages is responsibly disposed of before it commences any project.