Asbestos Registers - Our Quick & Easy Guide
What is an asbestos register?
An asbestos register is a centralised document which identifies all asbestos-containing materials or assumed asbestos-containing materials located within a building or a workplace. It is legally required (Work Health and Safety Regulation) if the workplace is a building constructed before 31 December 2003, if asbestos has been identified or there is a suspicion that asbestos could be found within the workplace.
An asbestos register should contain:
Records of any asbestos assumed or identified, the date that it was identified and the location, type and condition of the asbestos;
Up-to-date information on asbestos containing materials (ACM’s);
A statement confirming that no asbestos has been identified should that be the case.
Where possible, all asbestos containing materials should be labelled to correspond with the register and refer to where the register is located.
Why are asbestos registers important?
Asbestos is a highly hazardous material which presents risks to health through inhalation when the asbestos fibres become airborne.
In December 2003, asbestos was banned in Australia and it was made illegal to import, store, supply, sell, install, use or re-use asbestos materials. Prior to this, Australia was the highest per capita user of asbestos products in the world. Therefore, if you are carrying out building work on premises built before 2004, you need to check whether you have Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) or other hazardous substances within your structure.
To comply with relevant state regulations and codes of practice, a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) has the responsibility to ensure that an asbestos or hazardous materials survey risk assessment/audit is carried out to identify and manage the risk of any ACM’s and other hazardous substances that may be present.
Other potentially hazardous substances that should be considered by PCBUs include materials such as Lead (in paint and dust) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Other Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) and Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMF) can also present risks to human health if not appropriately identified and managed.
Once asbestos or other hazardous substances are identified by competent surveyors and analysts, then PCBUs are required to implement effective management and control strategies for all asbestos containing materials. Although each state and territory of Australia has their own regulations and requirements, the model Code of Practice (COP) 'How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace' (Safe Work Australia 2016) clearly documents the steps required to eliminate or minimise the risks of exposures to airborne asbestos fibres.
The Code of Practice is accepted as standard industry practice, requiring PCBUs to:
Develop, implement and maintain an asbestos management plan (AMP);
Investigate for the presence or possible presence of asbestos;
Develop a register of identified or presumed asbestos containing materials (ACM), and to assess the condition of any ACMs;
Develop measures to remove any ACMs or minimise risks associated with any ACMs that remain in the property;
Ensure control measures are implemented as soon as possible; and
Review the Asbestos Management Plan at least every 5 years.
If demolition or refurbishment work is planned for the property, a comprehensive review of the register should be undertaken to consider if it is fit for purpose and to check whether the previous survey and risk assessment work is sufficient to identify asbestos that might be disturbed during the demolition or refurbishment work. If it is insufficient, a more thorough and intrusive asbestos survey will need to be carried out to identify the Asbestos Containing Materials that might be disturbed during the refurbishment or demolition work. The occupier should ensure, as far as is practical, that ACMs are removed prior to the refurbishment or demolition commencing.
Do I need an asbestos register?The Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking is responsible for maintaining an up-to date asbestos register. They must ensure that they are given a register if there is a change of management or ensure that a register is produced as they take on responsibility for the business or undertaking.
To comply with relevant state regulations and codes of practice, a PCBU has the responsibility to ensure that the correct asbestos survey is carried out to identify and manage the risk of any ACMs that are present.
How much does an asbestos register cost?
The cost of an asbestos register is determined by a number of factors. If no existing register exists, the building must be fully surveyed for all asbestos and hazardous materials which can take a considerable amount of time.
Once a register has been developed, it is then a matter of routine inspection and updating to reassess the condition and risk of any identified items. Costs for both initial surveys and re-inspections also vary based on the complexity of buildings, ease of access, number of buildings in an area and the number of rooms/floors.
EDP provides fixed quotes for survey and re-inspection work up front, so you always know what to expect.
To find out how EDP can help you fulfil your duties and responsibilities as a PCBU, building owner, developer, or contractor, get in touch.
For more information and to discuss your Asbestos Management needs contact us at email@example.com or call +61 2 8484 5810