November is Asbestos Awareness Month and is an important time to raise awareness of how to work safely with asbestos and know the law on asbestos safety.
Occurring naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world, asbestos has been used for centuries across the globe. It is commonly used in the manufacturing of industrial, commercial and residential building materials.
Asbestos has become popular due to its fire retardant properties and resistance to chemicals, water, and electricity.
The use of asbestos in Australia was phased out in the late 1980s due to growing health concerns caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres. However, we still find it in a range of materials including fibro, flue pipes, drains, roofs, gutters, brakes, clutches, and gaskets.
There are 176 Australians compensated each year for asbestos-related illness. This equates to $85 million in payments.
Occupations most at risk trade workers, labourers and machinery operators, and drivers.
Safe Work Australia reminds duty holders to ensure that they:
- Have an asbestos register
- Have an asbestos management plan
- control asbestos in your workplace
- hold the right training and licensing
- monitor workers’ health
Safe Work will share the following resources to ensure proper management of asbestos in the workplace:
28 November – Video on Asbestos basics for duty holders
30 November – Video on Personal protective equipment for airborne contaminants
1 December – Video on Chemical Hierarchy of Controls