Asbestos removal fast-tracked on bushfire-affected properties


Thursday, 16 February, 2017


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Asbestos assessments will be allowed to take place immediately, following bushfires that damaged and destroyed properties around NSW.

SafeWork NSW will waive the usual five-day asbestos removal work notification time frame to aid bushfire recovery.

“This five-day time frame allows for SafeWork to review the adequacy of safety systems and site arrangements,” said SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy.

“SafeWork is fast-tracking assessments to ensure fire-damaged asbestos can be removed as soon as possible.”

Residents are urged to seek out information about the potential risks of asbestos exposure, as well as how to safely manage asbestos when cleaning up after a fire.

“As firefighters and other emergency services workers assess the damage, and residents begin to repair or rebuild, we want to make people aware of the danger of asbestos,” said Dunphy.

“Fire-affected homes may contain fire-damaged asbestos materials which need to be safely managed and removed so that the health of the community is protected.”

SafeWork NSW recommends the following measures during the clean-up of fire-damaged buildings that contain asbestos:

  • Avoid disturbing asbestos materials and keep any asbestos debris wet until it can be safely removed.
  • Be aware of asbestos materials in the immediate surroundings. A person conducting a business or undertaking demolition of residential premises must ensure that all asbestos that is likely to be disturbed by the demolition is identified and safely removed.
  • asbestosawareness.com.au has information on the types of asbestos materials commonly found in homes.
  • Use only a qualified asbestos removalist licensed by SafeWork to ensure asbestos is safely and properly removed.
  • Fire-damaged asbestos materials can only be cleaned up by holders of a Class A asbestos removal licence.
  • Licensed asbestos removalists can be found at safework.nsw.gov.au.
  • All fire-damaged asbestos material to be removed needs to be notified to SafeWork by the removalist. The five-day notification time frame will be waived for premises affected by fire.

For more information on safely managing asbestos, contact 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378) or visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Alistair Forrester Shankie

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