Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was once used in many Australian products, products either manufactured or imported into the country. These products included roofing material, brake linings, gaskets, drainpipes, and more. For many years, the dangers associated with asbestos inhalation were not recognised. Breathing asbestos can cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. A total ban on asbestos went into effect in Australia on December 31st, 2003. It is now illegal to use asbestos, make it or import it from abroad. Since the prohibition of asbestos came into effect, employers are required to maintain an asbestos register. The purpose of the register is to identify the real, or the assumed, presence of asbestos in the workplace.
Anyone who is responsible for managing or controlling a workplace is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of this important document. The register must include the date of when the asbestos was first identified as well as a record of the location, type, and condition of the material. A company’s asbestos register must be maintained and kept up-to-date. As well as these mandatory register entries, the company may include the results of an analysis that confirms the presence of the material and details of findings in inaccessible areas. A register is not required if the building was constructed after the implementation date of the ban or where no evidence of asbestos has ever been identified.
Safety & Environmental Services Australia (SESA) prepares detailed survey reports for its customers. When you get one of these reports, it includes an executive summary, details of the scope of work, site survey methodology and results, information on asbestos legislation, and a list of suggested actions that should be taken. Actions that they might propose include removal of the asbestos as well as isolation through the installation of an enclosure or by encapsulation. Asbestos is a dangerous material that jeopardizes the health and well-being of anyone who is exposed to it. The maintenance of an asbestos register is an important part of the control and eventual elimination of the material.