In the past, huge amounts of asbestos were used in the process industry. However, due to its risks, materials that contain asbestos now have to be cleaned up. This is a complex and expensive matter. Sitech Services has its own Expert Asbestos Surveyors, whose advice results in significant costs savings for customers.
Faster and simpler clean-up operations
Victor Kleijnen is one of these Expert Asbestos Surveyors: “Together with my colleague Freddy Massen, I am a member of the VIA Foundation, an industrial partnership with regard to regulations on the presence of asbestos and harmful fibers in industrial installations. In addition to this, we are members of the Supervisory Board of Ascert, a foundation that wishes to promote the removal of asbestos in a socially responsible manner on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Our primary aim is to make things faster and simpler. We have already achieved quite a lot in this regard. The Provincial authorities no longer need to be informed when an industrial structure needs to be demolished. That saves us a waiting time of 4 weeks.”
From rule-focused to risk-focused
Freddy: “When cleaning up materials that contain asbestos, the industry must observe laws and regulations. Unfortunately, the rules are not tailored to the industry, for example, because of the location where asbestos is located and the quantities involved. Approaches need to be customized, so we want the industry to focus on risks rather than rules. After all, nobody else is more familiar with handling risks than we are.”
Saving time and money by removing asbestos yourself
Thanks in part to the efforts of Victor and Freddy, a new asbestos removal technique was recently validated. “The company Batteryspray has developed a method for removing flange gaskets that contain between 60% and 100% asbestos,” explains Victor. “Through the VIA Foundation we have had tests performed to prove that this asbestos removal method is safe. In that case, specialized companies would no longer have to be called in for the surveying and clean-up of asbestos in the lowest risk class. From now on, trained in-house personnel will be able to perform this job themselves. That yields huge savings in costs and lead times.”
Special spray prevents release of fibers
Freddy continues: “The Batteryspray process is very interesting for companies at the Chemelot site. We have more than 100,000 flange gaskets here. If a leak occurs somewhere, the gasket will usually have to be replaced. With the Batteryspray method, you apply a special spray to the gasket when removing it. It fixes the asbestos fibers in place, preventing their release. As an additional safety measure, we prescribe overalls and a mask when performing the work.”
Fire brigade always available to remove gaskets
In early March, 10 fire brigade officers were trained by Batteryspray. “Two people from every shift were trained to recognize asbestos and remove asbestos flange gaskets,” explains Wim Tholen, Manager Operations Day Support. “Our customers therefore no longer have to engage a specialized company, but can call in the regular repair service for planned work performed by the fire brigade 24/7.”
*This only applies to the removal of asbestos-containing gaskets in process installations. According to the Arbobesluit, no asbestos inventory is required.