Under Victorian legislation OHS Regulations 2007, the person who has management or control of a workplace has a duty to determine whether there is asbestos present in the workplace. This is soon to include asbestos in soil as the current Regulations are not explicit in this regard.
Under the Harmonised Regulations (WHS 2011 and 2012), the same duties apply and do include asbestos in soil.
The WHS Regulations 2011/2012 covers NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, NT, ACT and Commonwealth.
Both the Victorian and WHS legislation require that if any Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) are found, its location must be identified and its details recorded in an Asbestos Register.
An Asbestos Audit fulfils the duty of the employer to identify and assess the risk of asbestos in the workplace. It involves an inspection of the workplace by one of HAZCON's auditors.
The auditor will identify the type, location, 'friability' and condition of the asbestos containing materials present and the risk of disturbance.
The auditor will take samples of suspected ACM for asbestos analysis at HAZCON's NATA Accredited laboratory. Destructive sampling may be required, however, it is only undertaken with permission of the building owner.
The auditor will also identify any inaccessible areas likely to contain asbestos and will determine whether the ACMs in the workplace may be subject to damage or disturbance.
All jurisdictions require that a person with management or control of a workplace must identify ACM and produce an asbestos register with details of location, form, type and condition of the asbestos.
Under both the Victorian and WHS legislation, an asbestos audit is a non-invasive audit for an operating workplace. It fulfils the duties of the person who manages or controls the workplace to identify as far as reasonably practicable all asbestos present.
It is required that the results of the audit will be recorded in an asbestos register. This register will then be provided to any person engaged to do work on site where the work may disturb the ACM.
The register should be reviewed; at least every 5 years; after removal; if the condition of the asbestos containing material changes or if previously unidentified materials are discovered.
Under the WHS Regulations 2011/2012, it is also a regulated requirement that a written asbestos management plan is prepared for the workplace if asbestos has been identified or assumed present. In Victoria, The Managing Asbestos in Workplaces Compliance Code 2008 also refers to Asbestos Management Plans to ensure the employers meet the requirements of the OHS Act in relation to safe systems of work.
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