MEDIA RELEASE: 17 January 2018
NATIONAL ASBESTOS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES FREE PRACTICAL ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT PACKAGE FOR COMMERCIAL & NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY SECTOR
When it comes to asbestos, Go Slow! Asbestos – It’s a NO GO! Visit asbestosawareness.com.au to learn what you need to know!
Although asbestos was banned in commercial and non-residential properties in the 1980s, asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) continued to be used in multiple locations throughout an extensive range of properties prior to 31 December 2003, requiring strict regulations for asbestos management in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (WH&S) and the Asbestos Codes of Practice. However, compliance has sometimes proven challenging for this sector.
If undisturbed, well maintained, and in stable, sealed and good condition, asbestos and ACMs are unlikely to pose health risks. However, risks occur when ACMs are disturbed during maintenance, refurbishment or demolition when microscopic fibres are released and can be inhaled when ACMs are damaged, broken, cut, drilled, sawn, sanded, scraped, waterblasted or if disturbed when using tools - particularly power tools which release a high concentration of fibres.
Preventing exposure to asbestos fibres is the most effective means of preventing asbestos-related diseases. With 13 Australians dying every week from asbestos-related diseases, 12 from malignant mesothelioma, and with another 13 diagnosed with this incurable cancer, it’s vital that all those working in the commercial and non-residential property sector ensure compliance with regulations to minimise exposure of workers, tradespeople and bystanders.
To address the need for improved, safer management of asbestos and ACM in commercial and non-residential property settings, the national Asbestos Awareness Campaign has developed a free, user-friendly asbestos management resource package to help improve regulatory compliance across the sector.
In an Australian first, the Asbestos Management Handbook for Commercial and Non-residential Properties provides property owners, managers, developers and workers with essential, practical, user-friendly guidelines and tools to manage ACMs in line with requirements. The comprehensive Handbook, Asbestos Management Templates and Fact Sheets can be downloaded from https://asbestosawareness.com.au/commercial-properties/commercial-downloads/.
Designed for a broad audience including property owners, agents, managers, builders, contractors, subcontractors, tradespeople and workers, the Asbestos Management Handbook, Templates and Fact Sheets were developed in consultation with stakeholders from the building, property management and government sectors to improve compliance in the commercial and non-residential property sector.
The Handbook includes a comprehensive list of building types including commercial, industrial, government, recreational, agricultural, hospitality, health services and education facilities, religious, transport and tourism structures. It details the roles and responsibilities for the management of asbestos and ACM, provides examples of best practice and a comprehensive list and images to demonstrate ACMs commonly found in commercial and non-residential properties.
Importantly, the Handbook provides practical guidance on the steps required to adhere to regulations including how to develop and manage an Asbestos Management Plan, an Asbestos Register, the training requirements for workers, and it defines Asbestos Inspections, Surveys, Risk Assessments and the steps required when asbestos removal is in progress.
John Batty, Managing Consultant, Occupational Hygiene and Hazardous Materials Management specialist for Prensa welcomed the announcement saying, “While there are strict requirements for the management, control and removal of asbestos or ACM, one of the dominant challenges affecting compliance has been the absence of user-friendly resources for people unfamiliar with technical information, with some finding the regulations rather extensive and complex to follow and implement,” he said.
“We know that the greater the exposure to asbestos fibres, the greater the risk of developing life-threatening asbestos-related diseases. In developing this essential, user-friendly information package making the requirements easily accessible, the new Handbook featuring step-by-step procedures complimented by Fact Sheets and Templates is a long-awaited vital resource that will help improve compliance in the sector resulting in improved safe work management procedures and the prevention of avoidable exposure to asbestos fibres by workers and bystanders,” Mr Batty said.
“Over the years we’ve seen a number of incidences where the containment, control and removal of ACM’s in commercial properties has been mismanaged with the health of workers and bystanders unnecessarily put at risk.
“In commercial and non-residential properties where asbestos has been identified by a competent person (such as an occupational hygienist or a licenced asbestos assessor) areas must be itemised in an Asbestos Register and should be removed (where practical) by licensed asbestos removalists or encapsulated and labelled prior to conducting work.
“While property owners and managers are duty bound to develop an Asbestos Register that itemises all known or suspected ACMs, one of the challenges has been a lack of understanding of regulatory requirements, safe work procedures and the inability to identify the many and various types of asbestos and ACM and its potential locations.
“The free Handbook and resource package will be a welcome source providing essential information to assist this sector ensuring ACMs or suspected ACMs are itemised in an Asbestos Register and managed according to regulations,” he said.
Asbestos can be prevalent in commercial and non-residential properties because it was used in the manufacture of an extensive range of building and decorator materials including: mechanical services (fire dampeners, attenuators, exhaust fans, HVAC Ducts, gaskets, filters), fibre cement products and linings (AC sheeting, cladding, roofing, moulded cement products, linings, mastics, fire doors) electrical (switchboards, metre boards, fuses, circuit breakers), floor finishes (adhesives and backing of vinyl, lino, carpet or ceramic tiles, carpet underlay, mastics, concrete flooring), elevators, plumbing (pipes, lagging, sealants), textiles (ropes, fire blankets, cable sheathing, felts), sprayed insulation (fire proofing, thermal protection and sound proofing) and in lift brake pads and mechanisms.
The Handbook presents technical information and regulatory requirements in simple, lay terms. It provides a comprehensive list of the many various property types that may be affected by ACM while the Templates (available in Word and Excel) for developing an Asbestos Register, Asbestos Management Plan, Asbestos Removal Record, Workers Training Records, a Model Asbestos Policy and Model Asbestos Management procedures for Contractors and Builders, has simplified what has previously been considered (by some) to be a highly complex maze of information to navigate.
The sector will also find the Fact Sheets on Roles and Responsibilities for Management of Asbestos and ACM, the procedures for Unexpected Asbestos Finds or Incidents, and the step-by-step application of Personal Protective and Respiratory Equipment, all valuable resources when training workers on asbestos safe work management procedures. The package is complimented by digital promotional tools for websites, social media and posters for on-site promotion.
With the announcement of the Asbestos Management Handbook for Commercial & Non-Residential Properties in a comprehensive resource package; building owners, managers, builders, contractors, tradies and workers now have greater access to practical, essential information. It will enable them to better understand the various levels of responsibility, implement safe work management procedures and provide them with the tools needed to develop and manage an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan to manage asbestos safely and effectively.
“While larger companies and organisations may have detailed asbestos management policies and procedures in place, every level of business in this sector can benefit from utilising this resource package, small businesses and community based organisations (councils, charities etc.) that may not have the internal resources to develop their own safe work procedures with the big winners being property owners, managers and tradies,” Mr Batty said.
Australia’s leading National Asbestos Awareness Campaign was developed and has been managed by Insight Communications for the Asbestos Education Committee since 2010 to increase national awareness of the dangers of asbestos and provide extensive practical information and education resources for homeowners, tradespeople, property owners, managers, associations and government organisations.
When it comes to asbestos, Go Slow! Asbestos – It’s a NO GO!
Visit asbestosawareness.com.au – To learn what you need to know!
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE:
John Batty, Managing Consultant, Occupational Hygiene and Hazardous Materials Management, Prensa
The Asbestos Management Handbook for Commercial and Non-residential Properties information resources were developed by Insight Communications in consultation with industry and government stakeholders as part of the National Asbestos Awareness Campaign for the Asbestos Education Committee.
The National Asbestos Awareness Campaign is the initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee working in partnership with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities.
MANAGMENT OF ASBESTOS IN COMMERCIAL & NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES RESOURCES
The resource package for Asbestos Management for Commercial and Non-Residential Properties was developed in accordance with the Work Health and Safety (WH&S) regulations, the Asbestos Codes of Practice; How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace, How to Safely Remove Asbestos and the Work Health and Safety Consultation Cooperation and Coordination.
The following Handbook, Templates and Fact Sheets aim to provide those industries most affected by asbestos in commercial and non-residential properties with essential information to increase understanding of the responsibilities associated with asbestos management and the requirements for compliance with government regulations.
All components of the package are free and can be downloaded from asbestosawareness.com.au or at https://asbestosawareness.com.au/commercial-properties/commercial-downloads/.
- Asbestos Management Handbook For Commercial & Non-Residential Properties
The Handbook is a comprehensive guide providing information on the roles and responsibilities of property owners, managers, contractors, sub-contractors, foreman and workers. It features easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to develop and implement policies and procedures to assist in identifying and managing asbestos safely and in accordance with regulations. It includes a list of property types across multiple sectors including government, business (high rise, mid-rise, low rise), industrial, agriculture, recreation, education and more. The Handbook explains complex information in user-friendly, accessible terms is complemented by Fact Sheets and Templates. The Handbook also features images of asbestos-containing products commonly found in commercial and non-residential properties.
- Asbestos Register Template
The Asbestos Register is one of the most important documents required to manage asbestos safely. The Template can be downloaded in Excel enabling users to note the locations and types of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) found in properties, the areas where ACM is suspected but not confirmed, if and when testing has been conducted; and, if ACM has or is to be removed.
- Model Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) Guide Template
While the Handbook provides instructions and recommendations for developing an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP), this Template is a user-friendly guide that lists the various steps required to meet mandatory requirements. The Template is pre-prepared in Word and incorporates all the information required to ensure asbestos is managed safely and in accordance with regulations.
- Asbestos Removal Record Template
The Asbestos Removal Record Template enables users to record the removal of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) found in properties.
- Workers Training Requirements & Records Template
It is a mandatory requirement that all workers who may come into contact with asbestos must be trained to identify and manage asbestos and ACMs in accordance with regulations, and to ensure they understand the risks and procedures required to manage asbestos safely. All training of workers must be recorded and maintained for five years after employment has ceased. The Template can be downloaded in either Excel or Word to assist managers in recording all staff training in accordance with regulations.
- Model Asbestos Policy for Contractors & Builders Template
The Model Asbestos Policy Template is designed to assist contractors and builders to initiate asbestos safety policies in their workplace. The Template can be downloaded in Word to enable managers or business owners to incorporate a logo, company name and any additional information they wish to include as part of their Asbestos Policy.
- Model Asbestos Management Procedures for Contractors & Builders Template
Asbestos Management Procedures are an essential part of an AMP. The Template is designed to provide contractors and builders with the resources they need to ensure their asbestos management procedures are effective to minimise exposure of asbestos fibres among workers.
- C1 Fact Sheet – Unexpected Asbestos, ACM Finds or Incidents Procedures Flow Chart
The Flow Chart provides a user-friendly, step-by-step visual guide to managing unexpected asbestos finds in accordance with regulations which can be displayed in the workplace and issued to workers as part of their training.
- C2 Fact Sheet – Unexpected Asbestos Finds or Incidents
Unexpected asbestos finds pose a threat to workers so it’s vital that they are trained in the steps required to minimise exposure to asbestos fibres. The C2 Fact Sheet provides guidance and step-by-step procedures for managing unexpected finds or incidents and where possible, what is required to minimise any future risks.
- C3 Fact Sheet – Asbestos Management Recommendations and Guidelines
The Asbestos Management Recommendations & Guidelines C3 Fact Sheet provides users with user-friendly information for the safe management of asbestos in commercial and non-residential properties which may be issued to workers as part of their training program.
- C4 Fact Sheet – Using PPE and RPE
Knowing when, why and how to use and lawfully dispose of PPE and RPE is critical to workers who may come in contact with asbestos on the job. The C4 Fact Sheet provides step-by-step instructions on how to use and dispose of PPE and RPE in accordance with regulations.
- C5 Fact Sheet – Roles and Responsibilities for the Management of Asbestos and ACM
The C5 Fact Sheet contains a matrix to visually demonstrate the various responsibilities of property owners, contractors, subcontractors and workers when it comes to managing asbestos safely in the workplace.
- C6 Fact Sheet – 20 Point Safety Check for Contractors, Subcontractors and Workers
This checklist provides 20 key points to assist in managing asbestos safely and may be used as part of asbestos awareness training programs.
John Batty is a Managing Consultant for Occupational Hygiene and Hazardous Materials Management with more than 13 years’ experience in occupational hygiene, hazardous materials and environmental management. John holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Applied Biology & Biotechnology), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT), British Institute of Occupational Hygiene -P402 Certificate in Building Surveys and Bulk Asbestos Sampling.
John commenced his career in the UK where he was introduced to asbestos and the many uses and issues surrounding the material within commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare and residential settings. On his return to Australia John undertook the role of Hazardous Materials and Asbestos Consultant working throughout Australia and abroad with an extensive range of clients including Department of Defence, Power Suppliers, Educational facilities, Railway companies and across the building and property sector.
John has applied his experience and skill to clients undergoing emergency situations where asbestos containing materials had been disturbed due to the lack of effective management procedures with the potential of exposing workers and members of the public to asbestos fibres. John has worked closely with clients ensuring emergency situations are controlled to the highest degree where possible by providing asbestos audits, unexpected finds protocols, asbestos removal specifications and hygiene services including asbestos air monitoring and clearances during asbestos abatement.
John is committed to increasing asbestos awareness and education within the construction and maintenance sectors. John and Prensa have developed site and job specific asbestos awareness training programs to minimise unexpected asbestos finds and if encountered during works, ensure appropriate best practice management procedures are followed to minimise the risk of asbestos exposure to workers and the public.
PRENSA RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Prensa is a multidisciplinary risk management consultancy that specialises in the identification, mitigation and management of hazardous materials across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). The business is headed by individuals with a wealth of knowledge gained from over 20 years of practical experience in the risk management industry and provides expert consulting services to some of ANZ’s largest property owners and managers. Prensa’s industry leading experts are often called upon to provide advice and guidance to associations, authorities and government agencies on the interpretation and practical implementation of strategies to manage hazardous materials across commercial, retail and industrial properties. The business has quality accreditation to ISO9001 and NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited laboratories specialising in asbestos and synthetic mineral fibre identification and fibre counting. For further information Prensa can be contacted at www.prensa.com.au.