Coming into contact with asbestos can have dire consequences for your health and anyone visiting the site or even nearby if it has been discovered that asbestos is present. Asbestos management plans are an important part of asbestos detection, risk analysis, management, and removal.

Removal of Asbestos

What is an Asbestos Management Plan?

When asbestos has been identified at a site, action needs to be taken to analyze the severity of exposure (risk analysis) and a way to remove asbestos safely to manage those risks. This is called an asbestos management plan. Prior to an asbestos management plan, an asbestos survey should be conducted to ascertain the presence of asbestos. A risk assessment is based on the survey and the management plan is then formulated.

Under The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016, all workplaces with identified or assumed the presence of asbestos need an Asbestos Management Plan prepared so that asbestos can be managed safely.

An asbestos management plan must:

  • Outline where asbestos is located, including any asbestos that is naturally occurring or in soil
  • Be provided to and accessible by all staff including contractors who work on-site
  • Appoint an asbestos plan manager
  • Include roles and responsibilities for employees carrying out activities where asbestos is involved
  • Include any regulations related to asbestos and the management of asbestos
  • Be maintained with up to date information as and when it occurs and include all documentation of asbestos, decisions, reasons for decisions
  • Include safety procedures for managing incidents/emergencies
  • Be reviewed at a time specified in the plan or at least every 5 years, even if there are no changes. A re-survey may be required.

Removal of Asbestos

Asbestos needs to be removed safely. There is no doubt that being exposed to asbestos is a critical health risk and as a result, an asbestos management plan is required for the safe handling and removal of asbestos.

Up until the late 1980s, a large range of building products and materials contained asbestos (ACM)with a total ban on all types of asbestos only coming into effect in 2003. This gives companies a good basis to determine if a site may contain asbestos but it should be noted that imported products such as vehicles, gaskets and other products meet a different set of criteria according to overseas regulations and continue to be brought into Australia.

Other important information to be aware of is the stockpile and storage of ACMs. While these products might not have been used, they still contain asbestos and therefore require an asbestos management plan so they are handled with the care necessary.