Changes to Asbestos Laws

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On 1 January 2014, further provisions of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld) will come into force relating to the management of asbestos. These additional provisions specifically relate to any workplace which there is, or is likely to be, naturally occurring asbestos.

What is ‘naturally occurring asbestos’?

Naturally occurring asbestos is asbestos created naturally through mineral processes. Naturally occurring asbestos is generally encountered with work requiring excavation – for example mining, quarrying or building construction.

Are the new Asbestos Laws applicable to you?

If you have identified naturally occurring asbestos at your workplace, or you are likely to identify naturally occurring asbestos at your workplace, the new laws commencing 1 January 2014, will apply to you.

What do you need to do?

The new laws require that where you have identified naturally occurring asbestos, or you are likely to identify naturally occurring asbestos, at your workplace, you will need to maintain an “Asbestos Management Plan”.

What is an Asbestos Management Plan?

The Asbestos Management Plan must contain the following information:

  1. Clear identification of the naturally occurring asbestos – this may include signs, labels, a link to the naturally occurring asbestos in your asbestos register;
  2. Decisions, and reasons for decisions, about the management of the naturally occurring asbestos at your workplace – this should include any workplace procedures or control measures put in place for the management of the naturally occurring asbestos;
  3. Procedures for detailing incidents or emergencies involving naturally occurring asbestos in the workplace;
  4. Consultations, responsibilities, information and training available and/or required of workers carrying on work involving naturally occurring asbestos.

Who must you make your Asbestos Management Plan available to?

A copy of your Asbestos Management Plan must be made available to all workers at your workplace, and any health and safety representative of a worker.

How must you maintain your Asbestos Management Plan?

Regulations require that your Asbestos Management Plan is reviewed and updated every 5 years or sooner where:

  1. A control measure is no longer adequate;
  2. A change to your workplace alters the risk associated to the naturally occurring asbestos;
  3. A health and safety representative requests that your Asbestos Management Plan is reviewed.

If you have any questions in relation to naturally occurring asbestos, and its management in your workplace under the new laws, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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