Tackling the Invisible Danger: Navigating Asbestos Management

Make no mistake. Asbestos is a killer. Each year there are more than double the number of deaths from asbestos-related diseases compared to those on Australia’s roads.

It’s one of the reasons there’s been such a big national push to improve asbestos awareness. That includes a crackdown targeting buildings that require an asbestos register.

Read on for the benefits of careful asbestos management and thorough asbestos training. Discover why they are the key to staying safe and on the right side of the law.

Don’t Let Your Business Become a Non-Compliance Statistic

South Australia continues to be a trailblazer in the clampdown on those workplaces not observing asbestos rules. There’s particular concern over the management of buildings built before 2004 and worksites undergoing demolition or refurbishment.

Inspectors recently issued 130 improvement and prohibition notices in one year alone. The areas of concern related to:

  • Failure to have an asbestos register
  • Not developing an asbestos management strategy after discovering asbestos
  • Failure to flag up the presence of asbestos

More than half of the workplaces visited did not have processes in place that complied with rules around asbestos management. Part of our job is to ensure that you understand your obligations so that you don’t get on the wrong side of State inspectors.

Refurbishment and demolition have also been areas inspections have focused on. It was apparent that some of those who commissioned this kind of work failed to abide by certain regulations. For example, they did not:

  • Engage licensed asbestos inspector independently to the asbestos removalist
  • Ensure asbestos removal workers were wearing a tight-fitting respirator

There were also occasions when there was no asbestos register. At times, there was no review of the asbestos register before the demolition or refurbishment in question took place.

Stringent Penalties for Not Abiding by Regulations

Proper asbestos management and detailed asbestos training could have eliminated these failures. They would have been a sound investment because the penalties for those who were non-compliant were expensive, disruptive and avoidable. Here are two of the consequences those caught out by the inspections faced:

  • Suspension of licensed asbestos removalist for 3 months
  • Fines of more than $2000

The penalties related to:

  • Times when there was a failure to remove asbestos safely
  • Starting the demolition process without getting a clearance inspection
  • Putting workers at risk

At times, there was also a failure to give those who commissioned a project a copy of the asbestos removal control plan before work began. Better asbestos management could have mitigated all these pitfalls.

Part of a National Asbestos Management Plan

South Australia requires anyone with management or control of a workplace built before 2004 to make sure that:

  • Asbestos in the workplace gets identified
  • The location of asbestos gets labelled and recorded in a register
  • There is a written asbestos management plan

The asbestos register would need reviewing and revising when appropriate before any refurbishment or demolition work began. Here are 2 useful links:

The state’s campaigns support the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-2023.  The priorities are to improve asbestos awareness and get businesses to take asbestos management seriously. This includes being proactive in managing and implementing a plan to deal with asbestos.

Get Your Asbestos Management and Training Sorted

Whatever the geographical location of your business, we can help. We’ll ensure you comply with asbestos safety regulations.

We provide services to organisations across Australia. We make sure they meet legal requirements in terms of asbestos management. Find out how we can help with asbestos training too. Get in touch with us at Quality Building Management today.