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What is an Asbestos Containment Area and How Does it Keep Us Safe?


worker in asbestos containment - Relief Restorations

Removing asbestos is a large and difficult task, we need to remove a harmful substance from a building that goes airborne when disturbed.


But how do we complete this task without the asbestos spreading through the rest of the building and air circulation systems in the building?


The answer: A Proper Air Tight Enclosure Surrounding the Work Area Called a "Containment Area"


Constructing the containment is a large portion of each asbestos removal project. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan and construct a safe containment. Each step is crucial to ensure a safe abatement.


Here are the methods and tools we use to construct a safe containment enclosure and to keep you safe!



Aspects to a Safe Containment

(for the more dangerous level 2 & 3 procedures, level 1 may differ)



Poly Sheeting on Walls, Fixtures and Flooring

We use poly sheeting to keep a barrier between the work area and the rest of the house or building. This is the barrier that prevents the asbestos and dust fibers from contaminating the entire building. This chamber creates an air tight seal so we can control air flow as well. Proper training and techniques are implement to ensure there are no leaks leading to the rest of the building. We often use poly sheeting to protect surfaces in the work area that are not being removed as well.



Negative Air Machine

A negative air machine is essentially a large air mover with a multi stage filter. This includes a large HEPA filter, which is the key filter that restricts asbestos fibers from passing through the machine. While constructing the poly sheeting portion of the containment, this machine is built into the poly sheeting to create a seal around the machine, the other end of the machine leads outside the containment via a tube, typically outdoors, this side is clean filtered air.


The key functions of a HEPA Negative air machine:

  • Traps airborne dust, debris and asbestos fibers to reduce risk of workers being exposed to the fibers

  • Keeps negative pressure in the work area so airborne fibers do not leave the containment area

The filters are changed regularly and the machine is tested regularly to ensure the machine is in proper functioning order.



Decontamination chambers

Decontamination chambers are small rooms we construct on each project to allow the crew members to safely pass in and out of the containment work area without contaminating the the rest of the building. Its also used for fresh air exchange while the negative air machine is on so the crew doesn't suffocate and are supplied with clean, fresh air while maintaining negative air pressure.


A standard decontamination chamber includes 3 rooms, the are:


Clean Room - This is the room we enter from the building/outside the work area, it's used to change in/out of clothes. We strip down when entering the work area so there's no risk of fibers remaining on our clothes. We change back into the clothes on the way out of the work area.


Shower Room - This is the room we use to shower after leaving the work area. All workers are required to shower each and every time they leave the work area. The shower removes any dust and debris that may be on the workers before they enter into the clean area. We also use this room to wash and clean off bags of materials leaving the work area.


Dirty Room - The dirty room is used to remove the Tyvek suits and gloves prior to entering the shower room. This room provides an area outside the work area where the worker can safely remove their contaminated PPE (except respirator)


Did You Know: Spouses of workers have been known to contract asbestos related illness even if they have never entered a room with airborne asbestos prior. The clothes from the worker trapped asbestos fibers leading to the spouse being exposed to these fibers! Nothing to mess around with.

Manometer

A manometer is a small testing device that measures air pressure changes, we use it to monitor the negative air pressure in the work area when compared to the air outside the containment. This device is monitored continuously to ensure the negative air machine is doing its job and functioning properly.



Air Testing

We use an air testing device to monitor the air quality inside the containment. The device pushes air through a cartridge and particles get trapped inside. From there, the cartridges are sent off for testing. These tests tell us if there are safe levels of fibers in the air. If the fiber levels are high, this tells us the negative air isn't functioning as well as it should be and the issue needs addressing. These tests are also used once a project is completed to tell us the building is safe for occupancy.



Signage

We place Danger signs on access points to building and/or containment entrance to ensure visitors and other work personnel that may be in the area to stay out of the containment, area or building.


This is an example of the Asbestos Danger sign

Asbestos Danger Sign - Winnipeg Asbestos Removal
This is an Asbestos Danger Sign, if You See This Sign Displayed Anywhere, Do Not Enter the Area

Glove Bag Method

A glove bag is used while working on a pipe or ducting vent. It allows us to safely remove pipe and ducting tape or wrap without covering the entire room in containment. Its essentially a large bag with gloves sealed into it. We seal it around the pipe so we can work in the area.



Depending on the project, other tools and equipment may be used for our containment structure to complete the project safely.


These steps and tools we use are job specific and planed thoroughly to ensure we set up a safe and effective chamber. Every project is planned, documented and tested thoroughly to ensure we deliver a safe end result.


Our asbestos workers are trained thoroughly and certified in levels I, II and III asbestos abatement. Training includes proper containment set up and tear down for a safe abatement.


If you have any questions about this process, please reach out and let us know. We'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


Asbestos removal can be a concerning task, we want to ensure you feel safe and know you can trust us to complete the task safely.



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