WorkSafe New Zealand has released its first guide for managing and removing asbestos in the workplace.
The Approved Code of Practice for the Management and Removal of Asbestos will help in reducing asbestos-related disease in the country. WorkSafe’s aim is to reduce asbestos-related diseases by 50 percent by 2040.
The code was developed in consultation with unions, employer organisations, other key stakeholders and the public.
“WorkSafe received the most responses for any guidance consultation in its history,” says WorkSafe Chief Executive, Gordon MacDonald. “By working together with industry, we were able to establish a common view of what ‘good’ looks like. This lessens the need for businesses to obtain independent advice, which may reduce compliance costs.”
The code sets out Worksafe’s expectations for working safely with asbestos. It is designed for businesses that manage or control workplaces, carry out asbestos removal, or other asbestos-related work, as well as licensed asbestos assessors. It also applies to landlords, but not to home occupants doing DIY.
The code includes information and guidance on keeping safe around asbestos, like types of work allowed when working with asbestos, identifying and managing asbestos-containing material in the workplace, prohibited and restricted tools and equipment, personal protective equipment and health monitoring.
Asbestos use caused a global stir after health organisations around the world warned of its serious health implications. On average, around 170 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases.
It became illegal to import blue and brown asbestos into New Zealand in its raw form from 1984. Just this month, it became illegal to import asbestos-containing products into New Zealand.