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Is it better for a business to buy or hire a mobile decontamination unit

What are the two types of decontamination unit?

There are two types of decontamination units, a modular and a mobile decontamination unit. A mobile decontamination unit is a caravan style unit that can be towed and offers welfare facilities due to being larger. A modular decontamination shower is flat-pack and comes in a number of configurations, such as straight and L-Shape. Another main difference between the two types of units is mobile is used externally, whereas modular is used internally.

What facilities do decontamination units have?

Both mobile and modular decontamination units have a clean end, showers for decontamination, and a dirty end. In some larger mobile units, there will also be welfare facilities such as kitchens and toilets. 

What are the 3 stages in decontamination units?

The 3 stages in a mobile and modular decontamination unit include a clean end, dirty end, and shower. Each stage is an important part of the decontamination process.

  • The clean end is for workers to prepare for work and keep their possessions away from any hazardous materials that could cause contamination. It also allows the team to freshen up at the end of the day and get back into fresh clothes. This process also ensures there is no risk of latent exposure for anyone they come into contact with. 
  • The dirty end is for the removal and disposal of initial PPE before going into the shower. All contaminated PPE and equipment should be bagged and securely sealed. These contents should never be taken into any of the other two stages. 
  • Showers allow workers to wet and clean off any other fibres that might be remaining on them or their respiratory protective equipment (RPE) before exiting into the clean end. Here, they can remove their RPE and put clean clothes on. 

What are the different sizes of decontamination unit?

Both types of units come in a variety of sizes. It will just depend on the size of the project and the number of workers on-site. They can generally accommodate from 2 to around 8 persons. However, it is important to note that modular units come in more specific fixed sizes, i.e. 1 x 1 x 2 metres, unless a company orders a bespoke solution. The size of the project normally dictates the type of unit and its’ size, the size of the team, and the space available on-site. 

Why are modular and mobile decontaminations a requirement on-site?

Decontamination units are required to ensure that asbestos fibres are not spread outside the enclosure and stop latent exposure to workers or anyone else they may come into contact with, like families. 

When should a decontamination unit be used?

Mobile or modular decontamination units are legally required as part of Worksafe regulations. Full details can be found in the ACOP: Management and removal of asbestos document PART C17/Decontamination. This stipulates that units should be attached externally to an enclosure unless there are limitations that mean the unit cannot be located close enough. In these instances, modular units can be an ideal solution as they are smaller and offer a range of configurations depending on the size of the space. Modular units mean that decontamination can occur internally without transiting long distances and risking contamination of other areas. All decontamination units must have a minimum of 3 stages. 

Are there differences in price between the two decontamination units?

Yes, there is a price differene. However, it is important to also factor in soft costs with a modular decontamination unit, including building, cleaning, and dismantling the unit. Also, regulations state that mobile units should be preferred unless restrictions dictate otherwise. 

The main difference between a modular and mobile decontamination unit is the build and then where they will be positioned on-site. Both offer very similar facilities to enable the safe removal and disposal of asbestos. The final decision comes down to what is best suited for the job and what space is available on site. 

Beacon Safety NZ was, previously known as ARENZ, offers a wide range of modular and mobile decontamination units. Quick delivery and hire options are available. 

Hire services are only available to trade account customers. To apply, complete our form or contact your local branch, where one of the team will be happy to help.