National Asbestos Awareness Week Observed

During Asbestos Awareness Week, 19-25 November the dangers related to asbestos were highlighted, particularly to young tradespeople and apprentices who may not be familiar with the risks or what to do if they suspect exposure.

Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace visited year 10 students at Kelvin Grove State College’s Trade Training Centre highlighting the importance of asbestos safety.

She reminded them that there is no cure for mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis and there are other horrible conditions that can be contracted from exposure to asbestos.

It’s crucial that everyone is aware of the risks from students to apprentices to experienced tradespeople and foremen. It’s also important for people to know what to do if they suspect asbestos may be present.

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Raising Awareness about Risk of Imported Asbestos Products

 Asbestos containing building materials have become a major concern in Australia leading the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and Queensland Building and Construction Commission to hold a seminar dedicated to raising awareness about the risk of imported products containing asbestos.
The seminar is free and will cover how asbestos importation is regulated at the Australian border, the responsibilities of businesses in importing products and how goods can be verified to ensure they don’t contain abestos.
The event will be held on Monday, 30 April 2018 at the Pullman Hotel, Norfolk Room in Brisbane. The seminar commences at 9am to 12:30pm.
Contact Asbestos Safety on (02) 9246 0558 for more information or email [email protected]


Queensland Fatal Skylight Fall Under Investigation

An incident during which a worker fell 5 metres onto a concrete floor is under investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

It appears the worker was attending to a radio tower on the roof of a storage shed when a skylight collapsed, causing him to fall through and onto the concrete floor below.

Alarmingly Workplace Health and Safety Queensland reports that more than 3200 worker’s compensation claims were accepted annually where a worker fell from a height. Of these fall from height claims 54 per cent are for serious injury with 5 or more days off work.

According to WHSQ there have been 2153 prohibition notices issued since 2012, 1832 improvement notices and 47 infringement notices for issues relating to falls from heights or risk of working at heights, so it’s quite clear that not enough is being done in the industry to address falls.


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Report on Making Asbestos Less of A Danger

A new report by the Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency looked into practices that could help make asbestos less dangerous where it is not immediately possible to remove, examining current ways to contain and stabilise asbestos, especially in roofing.

The agency investigated current products and practices used to contain and stabilise asbestos to make it safer where it is, or make it safer to remove.

The agency also found that the industry supported government incentives towards dealing with and managing asbestos.

The agency highlighted that asbestos roofing is common in Australia and it can deteriorate over time even more so than asbestos used for other uses.Taking this into account, the agency says encapsulation of asbestos on roofing is essential and a simple and cost-effective approach to make deteriorating asbestos safer if immediate removal is not possible.


Beware of Asbestos, Tradies Warned

Tradespeople in Victoria are being urged to educate themselves about asbestos, particularly how to identify it so as not to expose themselves and others to the deadly substance when engaging in renovation, demolition and maintenance work.

The asbestos awareness campaign was launched by WorkSafe recently and includes radio, online and trade publication advertisements aimed at raising awareness about diseases linked to asbestos including Mesolthelioma, Asbestosis and lung cancer.

According to the Australian Mesothelioma Register, around 60 per cent of mesothelioma cases are as a result of asbestos exposure in the workplace.

In 2016 there were at least 95 mesothelioma deaths in Victoria and 145 new cases.  See more at

Report on Asbestos Safety Progress Released

The 2016-2017 Asbestos Safety and Eradication National Strategic Plan Progress Report has been released by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council at the organisation’s summit in Canberra.

Agency CEO, Peter Tighe said significant work has been done across Australia by all governments to work towards the elimination of asbestos related diseases in Australia.

The report reveals greater coordination has paid off with evidence showing that more asbestos is being removed and disposed off than in previous years but its too early to identify significant behavioural change in general regarding asbestos risks.

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Asbestos Incident Leads to $60k Fine


An asbestos incident involving a Canberra earthmoving company has resulted in a $60,000 fine for the company.

The ACT Industrial Court originally convicted the company and issued an $80,000 fine however it was reduced to $60,000, taking into consideration the company’s guilty plea.

The breach led to an uncontrolled release of dust because of insufficient water suppression, a WorkSafe ACT inspector said.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe working environment due to the insufficient water suppression before demolition began. It also failed to provide effective means of communication between excavator operators and ground workers.


Discovery of Asbestos Halts Opera House Construction

Image source: Pixabay

Work on the $200million renovations to the Sydney Opera House had to stop recently when workers downed their tools because of the discovery of friable asbestos fibres.

Electrical workers refused to work installing cable throughout the building, until it was confirmed that it was safe to do so.

Samples collected on site found that friable asbestos was present, this type of asbestos is dangerous because it is easily crumbled into powder and inhaled or ingested. Prolonged exposure can cause such diseases as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Australia has the leading number of reported Mesothelioma cases in the world.



National Asbestos Training for Apprentices

The CFMEU has called for mandatory national training on asbestos safety for apprentices and tradies, similarly to the mandatory White Card training that all construction workers must undergo.

A Curtin University study revealed that three out of four tradespeople could not identify asbestos in the workplace, increasing their risk of exposure. Because many Australian buildings still have asbestos and it is also illegally imported into the country, it is crucial that we know how to identify it, and what to do if we come across it.

This prompted the unions call who also urged the State and Federal Governments as well as the sector to tackle the lack of regulation in the building industry which they say is putting lives at risk.

The CFMEU says we need national, mandatory training for all apprentices to make them aware of the dangers and how to safely handle asbestos.

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Demolition Rubble Improperly Disposed Of – Company Fined $65,000

A Darwin company has been issued a $65,000 fine after improperly disposing of waste from a demolition.

The company was tasked with demolishing Department of Defence housing in Darwin and was suppose to sort and separate waste materials before disposing of it in the appropriate manner.

Instead, members of the public alerted the authorities that the company was dumping the waste on a block of vacant land.

The company pleaded guilty to obstructing an authorised officer and polluting the environment, and was subsequently fined $65,000. There was no asbestos in the waste however EPA officers found excavators, freshly dug soil and 5 houses worth of waste.

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