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What is the Cost of Failing to Identify Asbestos in Your Building?
A billion-dollar children’s hospital in Perth and a government building in Brisbane – what do these buildings have in common? Asbestos contamination, according to a report from The Australian. It appears a supplier from China furnished the Perth Children’s Hospital and 1 William Street Tower—and 67 other buildings—with products containing the hazardous mineral fibre.
Tracing the Contamination
Tests on building materials used in both establishments revealed the asbestos contamination, the report stated. Although it is unclear what prompted the tests in the first place, authorities said the roof panels from the Perth site contained white asbestos, or chrysotile, while the Brisbane site had gaskets with asbestos.
The Australian government initially banned asbestos in the 1980s, with most states and territories subsequently prohibiting its use in buildings. It was not until December 2003, however, that the government banned all chrysotile products, including its importation and exportation. And while there are visual clues to reveal the presence of asbestos, professional inspection is still the best way to carry out hazardous materials management at any workplace and asbestos testing is the only way to know for sure whether a product contains asbestos.
Asbestos is classified into two groups:
• Serpentine group Includes Chrysotile (white asbestos) the most commonly used asbestos type in Australia
• Amphibole group Amosite [Riebekite] (brown asbestos) and Crocidolite (blue asbestos) as well as Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite.
Asbestos-containing materials are categorised as friable, which is deemed more prone to manipulation with the potential to release respirable fibres and non-friable or bonded, which is mixed with a binding material such as cement and is therefore deemed less likely to release respirable fibres when manipulated and the most common type of products encountered. All asbestos containing products can be hazardous to health, with exposure to airborne asbestos in sufficient quantities known to cause diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, as well as a host of other debilitating ailments. Under the OSH Act and Regulations, all workplaces of all ages are required to be assessed for the risk of hazardous materials including asbestos. A failure to assess the risk to employees from asbestos puts your business at risk of government-imposed penalties and potential lawsuits that could irreparably damage your reputation. The cost of an asbestos survey is nothing compared to the liabilities you will incur if you fail to deal with the hazardous mineral fibre.
Prevention Mitigates Impact
EOSH Consulting’s team of consultants has the experience and expertise to help your business in all areas of asbestos management. From asbestos identification and risk assessment, removal advice, management and compliance, to support for legal proceedings – EOSH can help. Asbestos survey, testing and other services dealing with the hazardous mineral fibre can mitigate its disastrous impact on your business. Learn about our practicable and cost-effective solutions for your environmental, occupational safety, health and hygiene concerns, call EOSH Consulting today.
For more information about Perth Asbestos survey, contact us at 08 9443 9583