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Why An Asbestos Register Is So Important

The asbestos register is an important source of information that professionals always refer to before any asbestos removal project. According to requirements by the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 2008, an asbestos register must be available for all workplace buildings that were constructed earlier than 1st January 1990. Moreover, the only buildings that are exempt form having such a register should have been constructed after 31st December 2003, have no identified asbestos and have no intermittent presence of asbestos.

What Is Included In The Asbestos Register?
It's actually the responsibility of anyone having management or control within the workplace to prepare and keep a register. This isn't just a one-time thing; rather it should be regularly updated. The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 provides applicable penalties in case of failure to comply with this requirement.

So what does this all-important document contain? It must contain the following details:
(I) Any asbestos or ACM (asbestos containing materials) identified within the workplace must be fully recorded. The record should also indicate any asbestos or ACM that may be temporarily present within the workplace.

Such a record should clearly state the date when identification was made, as well as the location, type and condition. This is a critical aspect since friable products (asbestos containing material in powder form) require greater precautionary measures during removal, compared to non-friable products (asbestos contain products in solid form).

(ii) In case no asbestos or ACM has been identified within the workplace, this should also be indicated. When indicating this, you should also be sure that there's no likelihood of intermittent presence of such substances.

Only one register is needed in the workplace, therefore, you don't need to prepare a second if one already exists. However, if you have managerial control of a building, you should ensure that such a requirement is complied with when the building is constructed.

Reviewing the Register
Reviewing the asbestos register is mandatory. Moreover, there exist certain conditions which will also necessitate revision of such a document. These conditions include:
  • A review of the asbestos management plan.
  • Identification of further ACM or asbestos within the workplace.
  • Any action relating to existing asbestos within the workplace, which includes: removal, disturbance, sealing or enclosure.
What About The National Asbestos Exposure Register?
If you've heard of the National Asbestos Exposure Register, it's certainly different from an asbestos register. Unlike an asbestos register, which keeps track of asbestos found within the workplace, the National Asbestos Exposure Register keeps track of Australians who may have been exposed to the harmful mineral. This latter register was created by the government and is managed by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.
In case you suspect that you've been exposed, you can easily provide your details to the national register using an online form. You would need to provide details concerning what form of exposure you had and how long you have lived within the affected property.
Both registers, for affected persons and workplaces, are useful documents, necessary in combating the harmful effects of asbestos.
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