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Queensland laws prohibit the use of certain tools and work methods when working with asbestos-containing materials (ACM) as they can generate dangerous airborne asbestos fibres.
There are activities you must never do when working with or removing a asbestos-containing materials:
- Never use power tools, such as angle grinders, circular saws and electric sanders (unless enclosed or used with a device or process that prevents dust)
- Never use high pressure water cleaners
- Never use compressed air or abrasive blasting
- Never use household vacuum cleaners even if they have a HEPA filter. (Only specially designed cleaners for work with asbestos can be used).
All of these activities are very dangerous because they can release large numbers of asbestos fibres in to the air.
Prohibited use of water blasters
It is illegal to use a high pressure water blaster on asbestos cement roofs, fences and walls.
Water blasters destroy the surface of asbestos-containing materials spreading asbestos fibres widely and putting your health and your neighbours’ health at risk.
Homeowners can be fined up to $10 000 for using high pressure water blasters on asbestos-containing materials and must pay for the clean-up costs. Businesses may face heavier fines. A summary of fines can be found at https://www.asbestos.qld.gov.au/sanctions
Well maintained asbestos cement cladding and roofs are not a risk to your health unless they are physically disturbed.
Instead of cleaning asbestos-containing materials, apply a fungicide and sealant. Visit your local roof restoration company, paint store or hardware store for product advice.
Tag your equipment to warn others not to use water blasters on asbestos containing materials.
To order tags safe [at] oir.qld.gov.au (email) your order.