Asbestos became a popular material in the 1940’s because of its thermal, electrical and fire resistance properties to name a few. As such over 3000 products have been utilised in the building industry and can be found in fences, roofing, building insulation, wall sheeting, vinyl floor tiles, meter boards and lagging on pipes.
Asbestos is a publicly recognised material that it is known for causing severe respiratory problems and various forms of cancer. As asbestos has no odour and is mostly invisible to the naked eye in the fibrous form, exposure can occur without the individual realising it. Consequently, between it’s widespread usage, innate properties and its side effects makes asbestos an extremely hazardous material to the community.
Asbestos in a “non-friable” form i.e. bonded and in good condition is not a health hazard to occupants or trades personnel. Asbestos becomes dangerous when bonded materials are drilled, sanded or broken and asbestos containing particles become airborne.
Although asbestos materials were largely banned in 1989, it is believed that buildings constructed after 1990 may still contain asbestos containing products. Therefore, workers and the community are still at risk.
The Asbestos Register as per the requirements of the OH&S Regulations 2017 Division 5 states, “A person who manages or controls a workplace must, so far as is reasonably practicable, identify all asbestos present that is under the person’s management or control.”
Further, the common law of negligence may also apply in circumstances where an Owners Corporation knew, or ought to have known, that asbestos was present in the building and the Owners Corporation did not, for example, advise a contractor brought in to do a particular job where asbestos was present.
An Asbestos Register alerts any workers, owners and tenants to the presence of asbestos by identifying potential Asbestos Containing Materials, their location and condition and the risk level of the material. It also provides control measures to prevent or rectify asbestos related risks.
Mabi Services can review the relevant asbestos legislation requirements of your asset and undertake an inspection of the common property or workplace.
The inspection and report will provide identification of any visible forms of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) and set up an Asbestos Register as per the requirements of the OH&S Regulations 2017.
Our register identifies the potential asbestos hazard and over time monitors the condition to identify when it is necessary to intervene. We are fully qualified and insured to perform a site inspection and set up an Asbestos Register as required under the OH&S Regulations.
Our inspectors will perform a thorough onsite inspection of your common property to investigate and identify materials presumed to contain asbestos.
Based on the risk level of suspected asbestos, samples of suspect materials can be tested at a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory for the purpose of positive identification, allowing appropriate action to be recommended.
Our general procedure is to:
- Inspect & identify ACMs, noting the location, condition and risk assessment
- Identifying control measures to prevent or rectify asbestos related risks.
- Developing an asbestos register for the property, to alert workers to the presence of asbestos
- If ACMs are identified, we can establish an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) for the property and if appropriate take samples for NATA laboratory identification.
- If required, Mabi Services can install a cabinet to keep maintenance records, logbooks and manuals in a readily identifiable, secure location.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 advise that the person who manages or controls a workplace must ensure that the asbestos register is reviewed and, if necessary, revised at least every 5 years.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 states that an asbestos register is required for all workplaces. The consideration of residential strata may vary depending on classification (residential, commercial, mixed use) and the age of the building (pre/post 1990), however, other provisions are implied. In some residential strata properties you do not require an asbestos register under the OHS regulations, however under the common law of negligence and nuisance provisions (as outlined in the Public Health & Wellbeing Act 2008) a register is often still required.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 advises that a copy of the asbestos register must be provided to all relevant contractors prior to works. The easiest way to implement this is to have the Asbestos Register installed on site.
Yes, Mabi can conduct sample testing of suspected Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs). Confirmation of asbestos content can only be provided via sample testing by a NATA accredited laboratory. Where possible, authorisation for samples collected will be requested prior to site visit. Our inspectors are trained in non-intrusive sample collection techniques.
Friable asbestos products are generally quite loose and, when dry, can be crumbled into fine material or dust with light pressure, such as crushing with your hand. These products may contain high levels of asbestos which is loosely held in the product and asbestos fibres can be easily released into the air.
Non-friable asbestos products are made from a bonding compound (such as cement). Non-friable asbestos products are solid, rigid and non-friable, and cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure.
Friable ACMs require removal by an “A Class” asbestos removalist whereas non-friable ACMs can be removed by a “B Class” asbestos removalist.
Mabi is not in a position to undertake asbestos removal works. Removal works must be compliant with current Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and/or undertaken by a suitably qualified and licenced asbestos removalist. You can use WorkSafe’s Service Provider Directory to find a licensed asbestos removalist.
From an Occupational Health and Safety standpoint, removal of ACMs is the preferred option where practicable. However, depending on the condition of the material, encapsulation and monitoring may suffice. The OHS Regulations advise removal is preferred. If removal is not practicable, to enclose the materials. If enclosing is not practicable, to seal the material. (I.e., Paint, PVA Glue, Silicon).
All previous documentation pertaining to asbestos at the property is preferred to be provided alongside the work order issued to ensure our report encompasses all suspected ACMs.
This may include a clearance certificate from a 3rd party hygienist, invoices for removal works etc.
If the register has been provided prior to removal works, the register must be updated to include any works involving asbestos as per the current Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.