New work health and safety legislation requires asbestos audits of building that are workplaces that were constructed before 2004. It is the responsibility of the person with management or control of the workplace to ensure that asbestos is identified. Material that is suspected to contain asbestos must either be sampled to confirm that it is asbestos or assumed to be asbestos. Analysis of samples must be done by an accredited laboratory.
Auditing, sampling, and labeling must be done by a competent person.
The person with management or control must also ensure that asbestos-containing materials and work areas containing asbestos have appropriate signs and labels.
Building personnel need to know where the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) is located in the building so they can take necessary precautions when they work near it.
Who is the Person with Management or Control of a workplace?
- The owner of a building used, or likely to be used as a workplace
- The Property Manager of a building used or likely to be used as workplace
- The Real Estate Agent who manages a building used or likely to be used as workplace
- The Body Corporate of a building used or likely to be used as workplace
- The manager of a business that is working in a building used or likely to be used as workplace
Who Does Asbestos Inspections?
Asbestos inspections are performed by Competent Persons. Only persons who are deemed to be a Competent person under the Legislation should be hired to assess a workplace for asbestos.
What is an Asbestos Inspection About?
The condition of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs), location and possible impact when disturbed are important details that are covered during the inspection. A qualitative risk assessment will be performed to study the priority measures that should be adopted after the necessary analytical tests are performed. This will give both the person in control and the assessor the necessary details to prepare the AMP and the Asbestos Register.
When necessary, air sample testing will be requested from a NATA accredited laboratory. This is usually done when visual inspections of suspect asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are inadequate to confirm the presence of asbestos. The air sampling reports assist the asbestos assessor in conducting the risk assessment of the location.
How Often Should Asbestos Inspections be performed?
The inspections are necessary if your workplace was constructed prior to 2004, and you do not already have a current Asbestos Register and AMP.
If you intend to conduct any construction, renovation, or demolition of any premises in your control, you must have the Asbestos Register reviewed prior to any renovations.
The report provided by the asbestos assessor will evaluate the control measures and safety plan to be taken into consideration. Where necessary, a removal plan will be elaborated and clearance certificate issued after the successful removal of asbestos contaminated material. If the asbestos is contained and does not pose any possible threats, then frequent inspections are not necessary unless you plan to do any type of work that will alter the cohesion between fibres.
- 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
Safe Work Australia August 2010
World Health Organisation July 2010