Do You Know Your Obligations?
As our society becomes increasingly litigious, it is easy to be unaware of the sweep of legislative requirements with which you must comply. One area in which individuals are often unsure of their obligations is in relation to the creation of asbestos registers.
What is an Asbestos Register?
An asbestos register is a document which outlines details regarding the presence (or lack thereof) of asbestos within a building. The document should indicate the following aspects:
- Asbestos location
- Date of assessment
- Material identification
- Assessment of the condition of the asbestos relative to the health threat which it poses
- Recommendations to minimise or control the health risk
- Any corrective actions taken
Asbestos registers should be created by a qualified occupational hygienist. In order to create the register, they should conduct both a visual examination of the building and collects samples from suspected asbestos containing materials. The register must be maintained and regularly updated to reflect present conditions.
However, dependent on the context, different specifications exist regarding whether the creation of an asbestos register is necessary. For example:
According to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, “a person with management or control of a workplace must ensure that a register (an asbestos register) is prepared and kept at the workplace”. However, workplaces are exempt if:
- the workplace is a building that was constructed after 31 December 2003; and
- no asbestos has been identified at the workplace; and
- no asbestos is likely to be present from time to time.
If asbestos is identified, a written management asbestos plan is required detailing how the risk will be minimised. This register must be readily available to all employees.
2. Residential Body Corporate/Strata Buildings
Residential strata schemes or bodies corporate are under no obligation to provide an asbestos register for the building provided that they do not undertake any works on the premises and that the common areas are used for residential purposes only.
However, if a contractor (e.g. an electrician or a plumber) is employed to work within the premises, the building’s status is automatically changed as it has become a workplace for that contractor. Consequently, a duty of care is created under the WHS Regulation to provide an asbestos register for the building (provided the building was constructed prior to 31 December 2003). This register must cover the outside of the building and all common areas. However, it is important to note the word employed here, because if a plumber or electrician is engaged ad-hoc to carry out maintenance or repair work, the exemption to create a register still applies.
3. Residential Properties
Residential properties are not required to have an asbestos register unless it is a place of work. Of course, this does not mean that a register will not be helpful if asbestos is discovered.
Evidently, the guidelines surrounding the preparation of asbestos registers are complex. However, the first step in ensuring that you are not unwittingly caught out is to understand your legislative duties. At ADE we have skilled and experienced professionals who are able to answer any queries regarding your legal obligations to provide a register as well as conduct an inspection and undertake sampling in order to create a register. Contact us for an asbestos inspection.
ADE Head Office – NSW
Unit 6/7 Millennium Ct.,
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 8541 7214
Sydney Laboratory Services
4/10-11 Millennium Ct.,
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 9648 6669
PO Box 288
Upper Coomera LPO, QLD, 4209
(07) 5519 4610
Unit 4/95 Salmon Street
Port Melbourne, 3207
Unit 9 / 103 Glenwood Drive