Asbestos at Work – Tradies Need to be Alert
WorkSafe Victoria is issuing an awareness campaign to warn tradies to always check for asbestos before starting work.
WorkSafe Acting Director of Health and Safety, Paul Fowler, said “Workers have to know what they should be looking out for before they start work”.
Tradies involved in the building and construction industry are most at risk from being exposed to asbestos at work, particularly those involved in home renovations, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition of buildings built before 1990.
Asbestos fibres can be released into the air when drilling, sawing, sanding or when demolition work damages asbestos materials.
Australia was reportedly the highest per capita user of asbestos during the 1960s and 70s, with asbestos being present in many different types of building products… not just cement sheet! As such Australian buildings have an asbestos legacy issue that needs to be managed safely. It is possible that any building constructed prior to the national asbestos ban coming into place on 31 December 2003 may contain asbestos materials (ACMs).
Safety & Compliance – What do you need to do?
Step 1. Review the Asbestos Register
Tradies must check for the presence of asbestos materials, or engage a competent person to inspect for asbestos, to ensure worker safety prior to starting works.
Commercial premises – a copy of the Asbestos Register must be provided to the employer or person performing works.
Domestic properties – an asbestos register is unlikely to be present, instead the regulations place the liability on the person performing the works.
Step 2. Update the Register
Prior to any demolition or refurbishment works, an invasive Asbestos Assessment (known as a Division 6) should be conducted by a competent person.
Step 3. Eliminate the Risk
ACMs should be removed prior to disturbance, by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Step 4. Inform
Were ACMs are to remain, contractors must be made aware of their presence to prevent disturbance of the materials. For example: use labelling, Safe Work Method Statements & training.
Step 5. Plan
Emergencies procedures should be developed for unexpected finds, accidental disturbance etc. If additional suspect materials are exposed or damaged during the refurbishment works:
How do I do it?
Asbestos can be found in a variety of materials including but not limited to: gaskets, floor tiles, cement products, fire doors, bitumen products, malthoid, mastics & adhesives, lagging, electrical boards and ductwork flanges.
To ensure worker safety, asbestos & hazardous materials are identified, and you meet your legal responsibilities: the work area should be inspected by a licensed competent person and samples analysed by a NATA Accredited laboratory.
Our team of experts provide:
– Fast turnaround for site inspections and test results – we identify, assess the risk and can manage the removal in order to minimise disruption to your works.
– Asbestos Awareness Training – we provide tailored training to assist your team with identifying the types of materials which can contain asbestos and how to comply to legislation.
– Develop procedures to ensure your employees stay safe from asbestos at work and comply with legislation.
BB Risk Solutions Consultants are trained and competent in the inspection and safe management of asbestos. We will work with you to ensure you are fully informed of the potential risks associated with disturbance of asbestos at work and provide appropriate on-going management options which are tailored to the needs of your work and your budget.
For more information and advice, or to arrange an inspection by one of our licensed Asbestos Assessors, please call 03 8528 1405 or visit our website www.bbrisksolutions.com.au