This article is good information for residents and ratepayers and commercial property owners alike
Asbestos – Health and safety risk
Asbestos is the name for a group of natural mineral minerals that are made up of many small fibres. It has in the past been a common building material used in many homes and buildings built prior to 2000. It is a material that was in favour in the building industry because it was a natural fire retardant and water resistant.
However, it is also very hazardous to your health especially when you breathe in the fibre particles over a long period of time.
If left undisturbed asbestos is not harmful, however the asbestos is often disturbed when your doing renovations or repair work around the home or commercial premises. As exposure can be harmful if not cause cancer leading to death over time the Government has introduced regulations to protect the health and safety of workers around their exposure to asbestos. Known as the Health and Safety at Work Asbestos (regulations) 2016, the regulations spell out how to manage asbestos.
In the workplace companies are required to identify and manage asbestos if it is present in your workplace. As a PCBU you must ensure that your workplace environment is free of airborne asbestos fibres. Construction companies, plumbers, electricians, builders all run the risk of being exposed to asbestos containing materials and therefore a PCBU should ensure that staff are aware or able to identify asbestos. If found asbestos should be removed by licenced asbestos removers.
Home owners should take steps to check whether or not their home contains asbestos and advise tradespeople working on the property of the possibility. If doing the job themselves they should look at having the asbestos removed.
For further information check out https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/asbestos/working-with-asbestos/handy-hints/locations-of-asbestos-in-commercial-buildings/ you can also check out https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/asbestos/working-with-asbestos/handy-hints/locations-of-asbestos-in-a-residential-dwelling/.
by John Riddell, H&S Consultant, Securo, https://www.securo.co.nz