Asbestos Registers: When Do You Need One?
Asbestos can be found in many areas throughout the workplace and home. Likely sources of asbestos in the workplace or home are cement sheeting or vinyl tiles where fibres may be added to give the material certain properties, such as fire or water resistance. Exposure to asbestos fibres may occur if asbestos containing materials are allowed to deteriorate or are disturbed by mechanical or physical actions, such as drilling. As prolonged asbestos exposure can lead to the development of asbestosis and mesothelioma it is important that asbestos in the workplace is identified and managed appropriately.
One effective way to identify and manage asbestos in the workplace or home is through an asbestos survey where the workplace or home is surveyed for asbestos containing materials and a subsequent asbestos register is produced outlining the location of any asbestos containing materials.
The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations 2011 under the work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires all persons who conduct a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not put at risk from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking. The WHS Regulations include specific obligations to manage and control asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) in the workplace. Under WHS regulation 425, a person with management or control of a workplace must ensure an asbestos register is prepared and kept at the workplace.
Your workplace is exempt from providing an asbestos register if it was constructed after the 31st of December 2003.
Additionally, according to Safe Work Australia, commercial strata buildings and mixed residential/commercial strata buildings with common areas may require an asbestos register. Residential strata building common areas may also require an asbestos register if someone is employed (i.e. a caretaker) to carry out a job within the common areas of the building as the status of the building’s common areas then alters to a workplace.
Asbestos registers are not required for residential premises however Getex strongly recommends having an asbestos survey conducted within residential premises as DIY home renovators can be particularly at high risk to asbestos exposure during renovations.
Vinyl Tiles and Fibre Cement Sheeting are two commonly used materials that could contain asbestos.
Council development applications (DAs) for residential and commercial premises may also require an asbestos register prior to issuing development consent.
According to SafeWork NSW an asbestos register must:
- Record any asbestos that is identified or assumed to be present at the workplace
- Record the date when the asbestos is identified
- Record the location, type and condition of the asbestos
- Be maintained to ensure up-to-date information
- State if no asbestos has been identified
- Be given to the employer or business (or other PCBU), when there is a change of management or controller of the workplace.
Getex has many years of experience in conducting asbestos surveys and holds ISO/IEC 17020 NATA Accreditation in conducting asbestos surveys and providing Asbestos Materials Registers. Do not neglect this matter and be on the safe side by getting an asbestos survey conducted for your premises if you haven’t already done so.
Getex can also conduct a hazardous materials survey of the workplace or home that can identify not just asbestos materials but lead paint, lead in dust, synthetic mineral fibres (SMF), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Ozone-Depleting Substances.
If asbestos is found in your workplace or home the action required will depend on the location, type and condition of the asbestos. This information will be detailed in your Getex asbestos building materials register. In some cases asbestos may pose little or no risk of exposure and may be maintained in good condition. In other cases the identified asbestos may pose an exposure risk and need to be safely removed by a licensed asbestos removalist. In either case Getex can provide advice and services to assist with the management of asbestos in your workplace or home.