Asbestos Risk Management In NSW
As part of the Occupational Health
regulatory reforms introduced in NSW in September 2001, there are
important obligations now placed on building owners, managers and
employers in relation to managing asbestos risks in the workplace.
Asbestos in Work
The OHS Regulation
sets out specific duties of controllers of premises in relation to
managing asbestos risks. A controller of premises is defined as “a
person who has control of premises used by people as a place of
work” and includes the following:
A person who has limited
control of the premises; and
A person who has, under
contract or lease, an obligation to maintain or repair the
premises include building owners, managing agents,
tenants and/or employers.
Duty to Identify
The OHS Regulation
requires controllers of premises “to identify any foreseeable hazard
arising from the premises that has the potential to harm the health
or safety of any person accessing, using or egressing from the
premises”. This duty specifically extends to the identification of
hazards associated with the presence of asbestos containing
Duty to Assess
Where asbestos is
identified in the workplace the controller of premises must assess the risk to
the health and safety of any person. This includes
risks to tenants, employees, contractors and visitors to the
workplace. The risk assessment should consider a range of factors
such as nature, age, layout and condition of asbestos materials.
A controller of
premises must ensure that an Asbestos Register is established for
each workplace. The register should outline the type, condition and
location of all asbestos material.
Eliminate or Control Risks
The controllers of
premises must eliminate or control any risk arising from the
presence of asbestos to the health and safety of any
person accessing, using or egressing from the premises. Substantial
fines can be imposed by WorkCover for breaches of the Regulation.