Working with Asbestos

Don’t risk penalties and the reputation of your business! It is important that you understand your responsibilities to keep yourself, your employees and your clients safe. Asbestos was used in over 3000 building products before 1990, so it is important to know the asbestos risks.

You may need to be aware of the risks of asbestos if you: 

•    renovate or repair homes built and renovated before 1990 
•    install kitchens 
•    repair or renovate bathrooms 
•    repair heating and air conditioning systems 
•    interact with insulation 
•    fix roofs and guttering 
•    install solar paneling 
•    disturb external cladding. 

Asbestos materials are found in flooring, roofs, ceilings, and walls, as well as outside sheds, fences and gardens.

Asbestos awareness training is a requirement for anyone whose normal work involves a reasonable likelihood of disturbing or coming into contact with asbestos. 

Training helps you:   

•    understand the dangers of asbestos 
•    know the right protective gear and precautions 
•    recognise potential asbestos-containing materials  
•    understand your rights and responsibilities about workplace safety and asbestos 
•    learn safe asbestos handling and control procedures.

If you think you have found asbestos at a property, treat it like it is. Protect the reputation and future of your business by treating asbestos safety seriously.
 

Services available to do it properly

Before renovating or demolishing a property that may contain asbestos, talk to a licensed asbestos assessor. They can identify asbestos-containing materials and provide advice on removal.  SafeWork NSW publishes a list of licensed asbestos assessors.


Asbestos disposal in the Blue Mountains

Asbestos is accepted at Blaxland Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facility by appointment only.  The following conditions must be met:

•    Make a booking by phoning 4739 2432 at least 24 hours in advance
•    Asbestos must be wrapped in builders plastic and secured with strong tape
•    Asbestos must be in bundles that can be manually unloaded without breaking open the plastic – maximum 2.4 x 1.6 metres
•    No tipping from the back of the vehicle
•    Deliveries 9 am to 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday
•    Follow the instructions of staff

Fees for the disposal of asbestos have been reduced to the same level as for mixed waste.

NSW facilities that accept larger amounts of asbestos waste are listed on the following website www.epa.nsw.gov.au/managewaste/house-asbestos-land.htm


Dangers Pressure Cleaning Asbestos Roofs

There have been a number of incidents across NSW where high-pressure water has been used to clean an asbestos roof causing widespread contamination, including on neighbouring properties.

If you are working on a roof that may contain asbestos, SafeWork NSW provides the following advice:

  • “Never use high-pressure water or compressed air on asbestos products.
  • Be careful when working on asbestos roofs – they are brittle and you can easily fall through.
  • Follow legal and safety requirements to manage asbestos.
  • Use a licensed asbestos removalist.”


For more information on the dangers of pressure cleaning asbestos roofs watch this video: https://youtu.be/4Oaatqtc3bM
 

This information has been produced as part of the Council’s Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with SafeWork NSW. The Council entered into the Enforceable Undertaking after SafeWork NSW alleged that the Council contravened clauses 425(1), 429(2), 479(1), and 445(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. The full undertaking and general information about enforceable undertakings is available at www.safework.nsw.gov.au.