What is an Asbestos Register?
An Asbestos Register outlines the location of asbestos materials within a building, the extent, condition, friability, a risk assessment as well as any actions that may need to be taken, after an asbestos inspection has taken place.
Why is an Asbestos Register required?
The intent of a register is to ensure persons working on or in a building are aware of potential asbestos and to comply with the various Work or Occupational, Health and Safety Act, and Regulations, as per your state legislation. An Asbestos Register is legally required for all workplaces built prior to 2004 within Australia.
A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure asbestos at the workplace is identified, the location of asbestos is clearly indicated and recorded in a register.
If asbestos has been identified in the workplace, a written Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) is also required to cater for how that asbestos will be treated.
The presence of asbestos may need to be indicated with asbestos signage where labels may be required to be installed on the materials to warn of the presence of asbestos and to refer to the asbestos register.
What is involved in an Asbestos Inspection?
Carters Consultant visits the site and undertakes a ‘visual’ inspection of the premises collecting samples as/if necessary, throughout each area, on a room by room basis. The time an inspection takes is dependent on the size of the site and number of areas / buildings to investigate.
Each item identified or presumed to contain asbestos, receives an entry into the asbestos register alongside a picture or the item/area. Samples collected (if required) are in accordance with our Safe Work Procedures analysed at a NATA accredited laboratory, in line with current legislation requirements.
When reviewing an asbestos register, a Carters Consultant will;
Check the existing asbestos containing materials for deterioration in condition, vandalism or disturbance;
Assess work performed on material or in the vicinity of;
Ensure access maintenance records are kept;
Ensure that an Asbestos Management Plan is in place;
Assess the contamination to other materials;
Address placement of adequate restrictive access signs or caution signs;
Assess health risk to occupants / maintenance personnel / contractors or employees;
Advise on any minor maintenance required to ensure that the asbestos remains in a good/stable condition and does not pose risk to occupants
Ensure unstable/friable material is removed only by a licensed removalist as per regulations; and
Ensure access is restricted to any hazardous areas identified.
How often should a review be undertaken and what are the benefits?
A Competent Person is required to undertake a visual inspection of the asbestos containing materials listed each and every time there is a change in condition, removal, discovery or disturbance of asbestos and revise the Asbestos Register accordingly.
As many persons with management or control of a workplace are not deemed to be asbestos competent people, they are not likely to recognize any deterioration or changes in condition of confirmed or presumed asbestos on site, which would trigger the need for an immediate Review of the Asbestos Register.
We therefore strongly recommend that your Asbestos Register is reviewed on an annual basis to capture any changes in condition/deterioration or works that may have been conducted on asbestos containing materials but not recorded in the register.
Although reviewing the Asbestos Register is a legal obligation it is also beneficial as;
Asbestos materials deteriorate over time and must be re-evaluated in terms of their risk;
Changes to the workplace may mean that the location description of items has become outdated;
The materials may have been damaged in the intervening time;
As an independent check on the initial audit; and
Most importantly, minimise the potential health risks to any building occupier/tenant, employee or contractor for any possible exposure to asbestos fibres in the workplace.
Not all Asbestos Registers are of the same quality. Carters frequently identify other Asbestos Registers to be poorly presented, lacking the information to be compliant with current regulations. Many of the asbestos registers, such as these, have not been inspected by competent person, where asbestos items have been missed during the survey.
When choosing a company, be sure to engage a qualified and experienced consultancy such as Carters