Asbestos is a very dangerous substance when its fibers are inhaled; it is associated with many breathing disorders and even certain forms of cancer. This doesn't mean a business owner is obligated to have it removed if it's found in a building or on their property, as he or she can put an asbestos management plan in place. This refers to their plan for how they will contain the asbestos and keep workers and visitors safe when on the premises. If you own a business or building in Queensland and are concerned about asbestos inside, note a few questions you might have about an asbestos management plan and what this includes, as well as your obligations regarding that plan.
What details regarding asbestos need to be in the management plan?
Virtually all details regarding the asbestos in your building need to be in this plan; this includes any decisions you make about asbestos containment, such as the containment measures you're now using and if you should change those measures in the future. The plan also needs to include the safety precautions taken to keep workers and visitors safe, and how often you have the asbestos containment measured inspected and by whom. Training arrangements for all workers who may be exposed to asbestos also needs to be included, as well as the names of persons responsible for asbestos containment and control. If you're unsure if a detail needs to be included, it's best to have it as part of the plan so you don't face any fines or fees for omitting important information.
What about naturally occurring asbestos?
While asbestos is often added to certain substances to give them strength and resiliency or has been used in the past as an insulating material, it also does occur naturally. Asbestos may be found in soil or in mining areas. Even if the asbestos on your property is naturally occurring, you still need an asbestos management plan in place, including the many details above such as safety precautions and training for workers.
Who is allowed to see this plan?
The asbestos management plan in your workplace must be readily accessible to all employees and others at the workplace. This might include contract laborers or those hired to renovate or remodel any part of the building, even if it's not near the asbestos. It must also be accessible to any health and safety workers from the government who arrive to inspect the building for any reason.