Asbestos: know your responsibilities in the workplace

Do you manage or control a workplace? As a duty holder under the WHS Act, you have responsibilities to protect anyone who works with asbestos.

November is an important time to raise awareness of how to work safely with asbestos and know your responsibilities under the law.

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral and can typically be found in rock, sediment or soil.

It has strong fibres that are heat resistant and have good insulating properties. Because of its properties, asbestos was once considered very useful for building products.

While it’s now banned in Australia, we still find it in a range of materials including fibro, flue pipes, drains, roofs, gutters, brakes, clutches and gaskets.

176 Australians are compensated each year for asbestos-related illness. This equates to $85 million in payments.

The occupations most at risk are trades workers, labourers and machinery operators and drivers.

View the Infographic: Asbestos related claims 2010-11 to 2014-15.

If you are a duty holder, there are a few things you must do under the laws, to ensure you are working with asbestos safely.

  1. You must have an asbestos register

  2. You must have asbestos management plan

  3. You must control asbestos in your workplace

  4. You must hold the right training and licensing

  5. You must monitor your workers’ health

Look out for more resources we’ll be sharing on managing asbestos in the workplace, including:

Read more about working safely with asbestos, or for information specific to your area, contact your WHS regulator.

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