Asbestos and WHS regulations

There is no doubt that today more than ever, safety in the workplace is a serious business.  Whilst of course there is the moral obligation to look after the safety of workers – prosecutions and fines under the WHS are substantial – and don’t just apply to the business owners – as a worker you may also be liable for non-compliance.

The impact of Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, Asbestosis and lung cancer are extreme and as such under WHS regulations, everyone who as a duty of care in the workplace is required to manage risks associated with Asbestos and Asbestos containing materials (ACM). Risks include encountering Asbestos in their workplace buildings, naturally occurring Asbestos and during the removal of Asbestos.

Imported goods containing Asbestos is an increasing problem with the workplace as other countries regulations are not as stringent as those in Australia.

So extensive was the use of Asbestos in Australia in the 60s & 70s it is highly likely that any structure built before 1983 will contain some Asbestos materials, with exposure possible in a range of industries including trades & renovation, demolition, mining, road works, construction and farming.  Cases of these second and third wave Asbestos claims are before the courts and often involve complicated litigation with Asbestos related diseases taking upwards of 15-45 years to develop.

The ‘code of practice for managing Asbestos in the workplace’ is a practical guide to achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS Regulations.In most cases, following this Code – which provides information on identifying Asbestos and how to eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to airborne Asbestos fibres, would achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act.

Responsibilities under the act include:

  • Control or risk exposure
  • Health monitoring
  • Training in identification, impacts and management of an ACM
  • Writing and maintaining an Asbestos register
  • Devising an implementing and Asbestos management plan

Due to the seriousness of Asbestos related diseases, the legislation and rules are extensive and the penalties harsh.

Regional Enviroscience can assist you to manage all responsibilities under the WHS Act to ensure your compliance to the code.  We have helped a range of organisations in regional Australia protect their workers from Asbestos in mining, manufacturing, construction, roadworks, demolition & renovation.

Ask us about our Asbestos air monitoring, Asbestos awareness training, Asbestos register and Asbestos management services.