Keeping the community safe, together
The need to identify and manage asbestos containing material is a challenge faced by Councils across NSW. The safety, health and wellbeing of our community are paramount and we take the matter of asbestos management seriously.
Council undertakes routine inspections of its facilities and public land to ensure asbestos containing material is managed appropriately. Council welcomes the assistance of local residents to help Council minimise potential asbestos hazards on public land.
How to report a suspected find of asbestos containing material
To report suspected asbestos containing material (ACM) on public land and in community facilities (not private property), please notify Council, providing as much detail on the location as possible, in one of the following ways:
Council's Hazardous Materials Team will inspect the site as a matter of urgency and take appropriate action.
Council's ongoing asbestos management
The Council, in common with all other business and service providers in NSW, has a legal and ethical obligation to manage risk associated with Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). The Council continues to strengthen and improve its asbestos management and is committed to acting fairly and ethically, in the best interests of the community and as a responsible employer.
In recent years, the Council has placed great emphasis on fulfilling these obligations. For example the Council has:
- Adopted and revised its Asbestos Policy, which is supported by a suit of asbestos related Safe Operating Procedures.
- Ensured that an Asbestos Register and an Asbestos Management Plan is present in every building known to contain ACM that is owned or managed by the Council and that a Corporate Asbestos Database is also maintained and accessible.
- Appointed a Chief Safety Officer to oversee the Council’s asbestos management response and strengthen Council’s approach to WHS.
- Initiated the Asbestos Response Team, now called the Hazardous Materials Team. A new initiative created to afford Council with its own asbestos response capability and allow Council to remediate many orphaned (dumped) asbestos scenarios, without the timely and expensive requirement of engaging licensed asbestos removalists.
- Committed to implementing a long-term safety culture and leadership program focused on building a robust WHS Strategy and bringing about a Fair and Just Culture at BMCC.
- Invested over $10 million in asbestos management since November 2017.
- Ensured that WHS training was provided to all staff and Asbestos Management training provided to employees identified as needing the required training.
- Developed and commenced its Asbestos Elimination Program under which all asbestos containing materials (ACM) will be progressively eliminated from the Council’s buildings.
- Thoroughly defined and clarified the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of BMCC employees to adequately cover our obligations when dealing with asbestos contamination.
- Appointed a pre-approved panel of licensed asbestos hygienists and removalists who can undertake and implement or oversee any required remediation works required on BMCC owned or managed property or land.
- Joined the Western Sydney Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Squad that works across local government boundaries, and uses a strategic, coordinated approach to prevent illegal dumping.
- Implemented a new organisational structure and operating model that brings together split services, provides the organisation and teams with clear accountability and responsibility and ensures that priority focus remains on strengthening safety, governance and risk.
In addition, as part of Council’s Enforceable Undertaking with SafeWork NSW, the Council has committed to implementing WHS strategies that will deliver tangible, long-term, widespread sustainable and measurable WHS outcomes across the Council, going beyond its strict legal obligations. These WHS strategies include:
- Providing communications technology to field teams – to allow employees to easily access safety procedures, policies and asbestos plans and registers and to electronically complete and submit forms such as risk assessments, hazard and incident reports;
- Implementing workplace training – including online workplace training programs about asbestos awareness, workplace health and safety and fair and just culture;
- Developing and delivering an Asbestos Management Toolkit for all NSW councils – to guide them and to support integration of asbestos management into their own workplace systems and procedures; and
- Delivering a Public Education Campaign – addressing and providing guidance on the appropriate disposal of household and business waste, including general solid waste and bulky waste and the correct and safe disposal of asbestos and hazardous substance waste.