All workers who might be exposed to asbestos must undertake a mandatory course in asbestos awareness by 30 September, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Simon Corbell, said today.
A new regulation will require employers and principal contractors to ensure their workers undertake the training by 30 September. The course will include a specific session on loose-fill asbestos insulation.
Asbestos is prevalent in the ACT built environment. It is safe to assume that homes and buildings constructed before 1990 contain asbestos materials especially in the eaves, internal and external wall cladding and ceilings (particularly in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries).
“The course will educate workers so they are confident in identifying asbestos and asbestos products and so they can understand and follow the correct safety guidelines for reporting and communicating the existence of asbestos to ensure the risks associated with asbestos are avoided,” Mr Corbell said.
“It does not permit workers to disturb asbestos in any manner. There is a strict regulatory and licensing regime in place for assessing and removing asbestos.”
Employers and principal contractors have always had an obligation to ensure workers are appropriately trained. The building and construction industry have been on notice of this requirement becoming mandatory for some time.
“It is important that we do all we can to ensure workers are not exposed to asbestos now and into the future.
“The Work Safety Commissioner will soon issue a guidance note providing further information on the regulation to assist employers and principal contractors to comply with the mandatory requirements”.
The course is only mandated for workers but homeowners and DIY renovators are also encouraged to undertake the training.