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Asbestos Awareness Amongst Tradespeople

Asbestos everyone knows the word, but not a lot of people know where it's found or how to deal with it, both from a safety and legal point of view.

From our vast onsite experience, there seems to be a deficit of asbestos awareness in many trades industries.
Asbestos is the one of the most heavily legislated dangerous goods in Australia. This is predominantly due to its known health effects and its abundant presence in the building, services, renovation and construction space.

Asbestos was used for many years, in many different types of materials. To date, over 3000 uses in Australia have been identified. A rough rule of thumb is that any building built prior to 1990 possibly contains Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs). If the building has an asbestos register, (a legal requirement in many cases), it is important to ask for access to it.

It is important that all tradespeople are made aware of the most likely places that they may encounter ACMs, and what to do when they suspect ACM is present. Constant vigilance is important, as well as the imparting and sharing of knowledge.

Some common examples of asbestos containing materials that tradespeople should be aware of:

  • Switchboards: black backing boards, cement sheet linings, wire sheaths, fuses and fuse blankets
  • Pipes: asbestos lagged pipes, asbestos cement pipes / conduits, gaskets, flues, downpipes, guttering
  • Subfloor, ceiling and wall spaces: asbestos containing debris and dust
  • Building materials: cement sheet, wall and floor underlays, vinyl flooring and adhesive, expansion and joint mastics, super six roofing
  • Miscellaneous: rope linings, boiler insulation, bituminous coatings, asbestos debris in soil, Telstra pits

It should be noted that any material associated with insulation, heat proofing or strength could be asbestos containing.
Many resources exist on the internet, however HAZCON does run asbestos awareness courses that cover what asbestos is, where it's found, associated health effects, legislative requirements, safe handling methods, and more.

Should any suspected asbestos material be uncovered on one of your sites, the material may be tested in our NATA accredited laboratory.

Please refer to our website for details;  Asbestos Awareness Training and Asbestos Sample Identification.

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