Loose-fill asbestos guide for tradies

Tuesday, 02 June, 2015

A new safety guide has been released for anyone working in a property that contains loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Produced by the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Taskforce, the guide features important safety advice for businesses and workers who may be involved in asbestos-related work.

“Loose-fill asbestos ceiling insulation was installed in a number of NSW residential properties in the ’60s and ’70s by a company which traded as Mr Fluffy,” said Dave Owens, chair of the taskforce.

“According to NSW Health, if breathed in, asbestos fibres pose a risk to health and it is very important businesses and workers take precautions to minimise the risk of exposure.

“If disturbed, loose-fill asbestos fibres can migrate from the ceiling to other areas of the home, such as walls and sub-floor areas or become airborne and inhaled.”

Any openings within a property, including cracks and vents, can also cause asbestos fibres to migrate into living spaces like lounge rooms, bedrooms and kitchen areas.

Owens said only workers who are appropriately licensed and trained in asbestos safe work and removal procedures should enter areas containing loose-fill asbestos at an affected property.

“No workers, including electricians, plumbers, pest control or communication workers should enter the sub-floor, wall cavities or roof space of a loose-fill asbestos affected home unless they are a Class A licensed asbestos removalist, licensed asbestos assessor or other worker trained in safe working and removal procedures,” he said.

“Any work which penetrates walls, ceilings or floors which may disturb loose-fill asbestos should be done by a competent person, such as a licensed asbestos assessor, so that the risks can be assessed and expert advice provided.

“Maintenance activities must also be limited to work that does not disturb loose-fill asbestos in sub-floor, roof space or wall cavities.”

Owens said if a worker is concerned that a property may contain loose-fill asbestos insulation, they should stop work immediately, notify the home owner or occupier and ask them to arrange for the material to be tested.

Free ceiling insulation tests are being offered to NSW home owners across 26 local government areas until August 2015 as part of the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW.

For further information and advice on loose-fill asbestos go to http://loosefillasbestos.nsw.gov.au/ or call Service NSW on 13 77 88

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