SafeWork SA inspectors will this month target buildings requiring an asbestos register after a similar campaign in 2022 resulted in 130 improvement and prohibition notices being issued.
Last year’s state-wide campaign involved 95 workplaces built prior to 2004 and 61 worksites undergoing demolition or refurbishment.
Areas of concern that attracted the highest numbers of improvement notices during the campaign included a failure to have an asbestos register (31), develop an asbestos management plan after asbestos had been identified (14), and indicate the presence of asbestos (11)..
The audits identified that 58 per cent of the 95 workplaces visited were not managing asbestos in accordance with the Regulations.
The concurrent asbestos demolition or refurbishment campaign found that the person who commissioned the work failed to engage the licensed asbestos assessor independently to the licensed asbestos removalist (11), asbestos removal workers wearing a tight-fitting respirator not being fit tested (6) and no asbestos register or the asbestos register not being reviewed prior to demolition or refurbishment were the areas of concern.
The demolition or refurbishment campaign resulted in the:
- suspension of a licensed asbestos removalist for three months for failing to remove asbestos safely and competently and commencing demolition without receiving a clearance inspection
- proposal to suspend a licensed asbestos removalist for 3 months for failing to remove asbestos safely and competently; placing their workers at risk. The removalist was issued a letter of warning and reminder of legal obligations after SafeWork SA considered their submission
- issuing of a $2,220 fine to a licensed asbestos removalist for failing to give the person who commissioned the work a copy of the asbestos removal control plan prior to commencing the work.
Starting this week, SafeWork SA inspectors will again be checking that the person with management and control of the workplace has identified and is managing asbestos in buildings built prior to 31 December 2003 and that asbestos registers have been reviewed / revised prior to demolition or refurbishment commencing.
Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world, with approximately 4,000 deaths each year from exposure to asbestos. This is more than double the number of annual Australian road deaths.
The Work Health and Safety Regulations, 2012 (SA) require all persons with management or control of a workplace (PWMC) that was built prior to 31 December 2003, to ensure, that asbestos at the workplace is identified, the location of asbestos is labelled and recorded in an asbestos register, a written asbestos management plan is prepared if asbestos has been identified and that the asbestos register is reviewed, and as necessary revised, prior to demolition or refurbishment work commencing.
Asbestos.sa.gov.au has self-assessment checklists available for persons with management and control of a workplace.