Best Practice for Working with Textured Coatings Containing Asbestos

We help you to digest HSE’s best practice guidance for the very careful handling required when working with textured coatings which contain asbestos.

If you work with textured coatings which may contain asbestos, it’s important that you take all necessary precautions to protect yourself, and others, from exposure to asbestos fibres. This will usually involve the use of personal protective equipment, such as respirators and protective clothing, and a requirement to follow proper (i.e., very careful) handling and disposal procedures. 

Asbestos Removal Regulations

Because of the considerable risks involved in handling asbestos, the regulations which govern this are extensive and prescriptive. You can find the full guidance here. However; we’ve collated the top line information for easy reading below.

Textured Coatings Containing Asbestos

Let’s take a closer look below at four specific scenarios which cover working with textured coatings containing asbestos because they are likely to be encountered frequently by demolition companies and building firms:

1. Drilling and boring through textured coatings
Textured coatings can be brittle and friable, which means that they can easily crumble and release asbestos fibres when disturbed. The risk of exposure is higher if the coating is old, damaged or has been previously disturbed. Here are our top tips on how to handle this:

  • Prior to drilling, cover the drill entry and, if accessible, exit points with a generous amount of paste, foam or drill cowl.
  • It’s important to remember when you clean up that rags and paste or foam contain dust and fibres and must be disposed as asbestos waste.
  • Once finished, make sure you follow a careful personal decontamination routine.

To read the full guide on best practice of drilling and boring, read HSE’s sheet a26.

2. Inserting and removing screws through textured coatings
Inserting or removing screws from textured coatings that contain asbestos can release the asbestos fibres into the air, putting the person doing the work, and anyone else in the area at risk of exposure. Best practice is as follows:

  • Preparation must include restricting access, closing off and taping doors and ensuring there’s good lighting.
  • When inserting screws, you should pain sealant around the hole first.
  • When removing screws, you should use ‘shadow vacuuming’ to control dust

To read the full guide on best practice for inserting and removing screws, read HSE’s sheet a27.

3. Removing textured coating from a small area
If a wall or ceiling covered with a textured coating has collapsed, and you have to deal with the clean-up, it’s important to follow the right steps and do this carefully. Best practice is as follows:

  • Check whether you need to isolate any services.
  • PPE is required for this work, including disposable overalls fitted with a hood, boots without laces and respiratory protective equipment.
  • Begin the work by dampening and picking off any loose pieces of coating and put them in an asbestos waste bag.

To read the full guide on best practice for removing textured coating, read HSE’s sheet a28.

4. Cleaning up debris following collapse of a ceiling or wall covered with textured coating
Inserting or removing screws from textured coatings that contain asbestos can release the asbestos fibres into the air, putting the person doing the work, and anyone else in the area at risk of exposure. Best practice is as follows:

  • You should shovel or scoop smaller pieces of debris into the waste asbestos waste bags and larger amounts into a lockable skip.
  • Clean contaminated furniture and furnishings and then wrap them in polythene sheeting.
  • You must dispose of any contaminated furniture or furnishings that cannot be cleaned.

To read the full guide on best practice for cleaning up debris, read HSE’s sheet a29.

The guidance in sheet a29 does not apply to the removal or renovation of remaining coatings. Also it is not appropriate if the coating covers Asbestos Insulating Board. An HSE-licensed contractor should be used for such work.

The view from Windsor Waste Management

Iain Harding, Windsor Waste Management’s Head of Key Accounts said: “Working with a wide range of customers across the asbestos removal, demolition and wider construction industries, we’ve seen it all before. With our wealth of experience and unrivalled reputation, we can help our LARCS with projects like these. Our expert knowledge provides our clients with the information to perform best practice and lead the way for a safe working environment.”

Can we help you?

We are a market leader in the asbestos disposal industry and a significant provider of total waste management services to the construction, demolition and related industries across the United Kingdom.

Our services include storage, collection and disposal solutions for asbestos, hazardous waste, construction and demolition waste and business waste.

If we can help you with any of these waste management services, please contact us today.

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