Asbestos Facts

The threat of asbestos-related diseases cannot be taken lightly in today’s world. This is especially true for anyone that has property or assets that were constructed between the 1900s and 2004, or whose profession may expose them to asbestos-containing materials. The best approach to protect oneself against asbestos exposure is by getting the correct asbestos facts. It is also important to fully understand the relevant laws that govern asbestos identification, handling, and disposal in your state.

Fact # 1

Bonded asbestos is not a dangerous threat if it’s not broken, deteriorated, or in any other state that can cause the release of airborne fibres. Friable asbestos (non-bonded) is a known threat and only qualified asbestos removalists with Class A licences should handle it.

Fact # 2

There are six type of asbestos, but the three most common are: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite. Chrysotile accounts for 90% of the asbestos containing materials in Australia.

Fact #3

It is not easy to determine if a particular material has asbestos containing materials just by looking at it. The most common areas to find asbestos containing materials (ACMs) include: corrugated asbestos roofing, back yard sheds, sub floor packets, sheeting under floor tiles, insulation in heaters and stoves, hot water piping, wood heaters, eaves, etc. Possible asbestos samples must be sent to a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory for testing.

Fact # 4

Section 39 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations require employers to train all staff in the nature of the work and the risks associated with that work. There is no greater risk in the workplace today than asbestos.

Fact #5

When working with asbestos, power tools should be avoided. You can use manually operated tools that work off low power, possibly battery operated. In some cases, you may also use tools that have local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to ensure that the fibres do not spread. Only an asbestos vacuum cleaner should be used to perform any asbestos cleaning task.

Fact #6

Asbestos removal that is done by a licensed Asbestos Removalists is usually done using one of the three methods: spray method, soaking method, and dry method. The methods adopted will depend on the quality and thickness of the asbestos. The dry method is the least desirable, given the high probability of having asbestos airborne fibres floating in the air. It should only be adopted when the other two methods cannot be performed due to constraints.

Fact #7

People in control of non-residential buildings built before the 31 December, 2003 should:

  • Get an asbestos assessor with to assess the property to identity possible asbestos containing materials
  • If asbestos has been detected on the property, then an Asbestos Management Plan and an Asbestos Register must be prepared
  • Implement control measures that reduce exposure
  • Communicate to those involved in the premises (both directly and indirectly) about the presence of asbestos, the threats, and the affected areas
  • Review the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management plan to ensure that the details are in accordance with the present reality.
Contact Quality Building Management today to have your complex assessed for deadly asbestos and comply with your legal obligations. (click to open contact form)

The Deadly Facts

  • Next to the United Kingdom, Australia has the highest rate of asbestos-related cancer deaths in the world.
  • According to cancer experts, an additional 25,000 Australians are expected to die over the next four decades from mesothelioma
  • In 2007, 551 Australians who registered that year died of mesothelioma. Eighty-four percent of those individuals were men.
  • Experts suggest that the number of deaths from mesothelioma will peak somewhere between 2014 and 2021
  • Incidence of the disease in New South Wales nearly doubled in the 20 years between 1987 and 2006.
  • The rate among females in New South Wales tripled during 1987 and 2006, with many cases attributed to second-hand
  • Over the period 1982 to 2006, the total number of new cases of mesothelioma increased from 156 to 649
  • From 1997 the number of deaths has increased from 416 to 628 in 2006
  • There was a 25% increase in accepted asbestos claims from 2003 to 2008
  • Deaths from Asbestosis increased 253% from 1998 to 2008
  • About 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in their workplace
  • WHO estimates that 107,00 people die each year from asbestos related lung diseases

References:

Safe Work Australia August 2010

Asbestos.com

World Health Organisation July 2010