Asbestos management and control literature review released

Tuesday, 18 November, 2008

The Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC) chairman, Bill Scales AO, announced the release of ‘Asbestos management and control: a review of national and international literature’. 

“The ASCC is committed to improving the information available on asbestos exposure and mesothelioma and this report contributes to that,” Scales said. “This literature review examines information on current work practices and exposures to asbestos which may be occurring in Australian and overseas workplaces and policies and practices adopted overseas regarding the management of in-situ asbestos and/or its removal.”

Key findings of the review include:

  • There has been little research on the current work practices and potential exposures to asbestos in Australia or other countries with similar regulations and prohibitions in place. Only five relevant studies were located, including two Australian studies.
  • The available studies indicate that despite the presence of regulations and guidelines on the safe handling and removal of asbestos, both nationally and internationally, there is a risk that some workers continue to be exposed to airborne asbestos fibres due to a lack of awareness of the appropriate methods required to detect, manage, remove and dispose of asbestos and possible non-compliance with existing regulations.
  • In countries where the risks of exposure to asbestos are acknowledged and steps have been taken to control or ban the use of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), there is a consensus that while the ultimate goal is for all buildings to be free of ACM, in some circumstances — such as where ACM is in good condition and assessment reveals it does not pose a significant threat to health — in-situ maintenance is a better alternative than removal.
  • Current advice in Australia and overseas is that asbestos should be removed if it is found to pose a significant risk to health or if the opportunity for removal arises due to demolition or refurbishment works in the affected building. In either situation, the appropriate guidelines for asbestos removal or maintenance must be followed.

The document can be downloaded from:


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