A Complete Guide to Asbestos Encapsulation and Management

Asbestos is a dangerous item that must be handled properly due to the health risks it carries. According to the 2016 Occupational Health and Safety regulations, the workplace and other companies must adopt asbestos management to protect the health of employees.

Factories and industries where there is a possibility of finding asbestos, are implementing various methods such as asbestos encapsulation and removal. Today encapsulation has become the most popular and viable option because it is cheap compared to removing it.

Now when someone finds asbestos in their home or workplace, they generally opt for it to be removed. Often times, contractors also request their complete removal, which is often costly. But encapsulation is a cheaper and more plausible option that has myriad benefits.

These are the benefits of encapsulating asbestos:

  • The hazards associated with asbestos are generally avoided by encapsulating it.

  • It has a lower cost attached.

  • Repairs and covers exposed part of the material.

  • Helps the material last a long time.

  • Improves the overall appearance of the material.

  • No hassle compared to full removal.

As asbestos is a lethal material that can cause health diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, etc., it needs proper maintenance to eliminate risks. Thousands of industries, from shipbuilding to manufacturing to power plants, are exposed to this deadly material.

Now, to make proper asbestos management plans, you need to consider the following:

  1. Locate the probable location of asbestos.

  2. Consult a contractor and make sure they follow the proper procedure while encapsulating, as tampering with the material can be dangerous.

  3. Make a note of when you are encapsulating it so you can better maintain it in the future.

  4. Keep the documentation related to packaging and review it for at least 5 years.

Before encapsulating, consider the following to ensure trouble-free service.

  • You can encapsulate asbestos-containing material only if you firmly adhere to the substance.

  • Make sure encapsulation is technically possible. For example, if the material is in a position where encapsulation is not conceivable, it is better to remove it.

  • The encapsulation must have the characteristics of the original asbestos application so that you do not need to apply any other material. Common characteristics include thermal or acoustic insulation and fire resistance.

Also, make sure there is no chance for the encapsulated material to absorb and retain water, which will cause the asbestos to drain gradually.

Encapsulation methods

There are several methods of encapsulating asbestos that can meet your needs based on ACM (Asbestos Containing Material). Here is a list of popular methods used to encapsulate asbestos.

  1. Mechanical encapsulation

This method involves the use of paints or the use of boards and sheets. While paints are easy to apply, fixing the asbestos with a board where screws are needed can release fibers that can be critical. However, proper maintenance throughout the entire process can eliminate this risk.

  1. Penetrating or powdered encapsulation

You can encapsulate brittle asbestos-containing material with an aerosol that can easily penetrate it. This method has many advantages over others as it penetrates deep into the material giving it a firm, light and damage resistant surface.

  1. Elastomeric coating

This method is popular as it provides protection for up to 20 years. Liquid encapsulants when applied, give a uniform coating that gives impact resistance and elasticity to the surface.

  1. Epoxy resin

This is also one of the most popular encapsulants that include coatings, composites, and adhesives. Its sticky property helps it stay on the surface giving maximum resistance to asbestos-containing material.

When encapsulating, you should verify that contractors take the necessary steps and follow the techniques while encapsulating, as the application requires different procedures.

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