SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification timeframe to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from the weekend’s fierce bushfires that caused damage and destruction to properties, bushland and livestock across the State.
SafeWork NSW Executive Director, Peter Dunphy said under usual circumstances legislation required a five-day wait period before removing asbestos.
“This five-day timeframe allows for SafeWork to review the adequacy of safety systems and site arrangements,” Mr Dunphy said.
“Residents are being urged to seek out information on the potential risks of being exposed to asbestos and how to safely manage asbestos when cleaning up after the fire,” he said.
“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.
“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 your surroundings. A person conducting a business or undertaking demolition of residential premises must ensure that all asbestos that this 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 timeframe 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.