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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in commercial buildings throughout the 20th century. While it was valued for its fire-resistant properties, it is now known to pose serious health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, among others.
Unfortunately, many commercial buildings still contain asbestos throughout Melbourne and Australia, and its removal can be expensive and time-consuming. This poses a significant risk to employees and customers who work or visit these buildings.
Therefore, it is critical for building owners and managers to take proactive steps to protect their employees and customers from asbestos exposure.
This article will provide an overview of asbestos in commercial buildings, the associated health risks, regulations and laws, and strategies for protecting employees and customers from asbestos exposure. By understanding the risks and taking appropriate measures, building owners and managers can create a safe environment for all who enter their buildings.
If you’re keen to get rid of asbestos in your commercial building then look no further.
Asbestos has a long history of use in commercial and residential buildings due to its desirable properties. It was often used in building materials because of its heat and fire resistance, durability, and insulating properties.
Asbestos could be found in a variety of commercial building components such as insulation, roofing materials, flooring, and ceiling tiles.
Because of its availability and affordability, asbestos was a popular choice in the construction of commercial buildings throughout the 20th century. However, it is now known that long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health risks, and it has since been banned or restricted in many countries.
Even though the use of asbestos is now highly regulated and is no longer able to be used in Australia (since December 2003), many commercial buildings built prior to the ban still contain asbestos-containing materials, which pose a significant health risk to those who come into contact with them.
Exposure to asbestos can be incredibly hazardous to your health, and it’s essential to understand the risks associated with it.
The primary health risks of asbestos exposure include lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen.
When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can get trapped in the lungs, leading to inflammation, scarring, and other health problems. Over time, these fibres can cause damage to the lungs and other organs, leading to serious health problems.
The longer you are exposed to asbestos, the greater your risk of developing health problems. Unfortunately, the symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses often take years, if not decades, to appear, which makes it all the more important to take preventive and control measures and minimize exposure to asbestos.
Therefore, it’s essential to identify and remove asbestos-containing materials from commercial buildings to prevent the risk of exposure and to protect the health of employees and customers.
In Australia, there are strict regulations and laws regarding asbestos in commercial property and buildings. The use of asbestos in building materials was banned in Australia in 2003, and building owners and managers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their buildings are free from asbestos-containing materials.
Under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulations, employers must identify asbestos-containing materials present in their buildings and take appropriate steps to manage the risks associated with them. This includes conducting regular inspections and risk assessments, developing an asbestos register, asbestos management plan, and providing training to employees who may come into contact with asbestos.
If asbestos is identified, it must be handled and removed by licensed professionals who have undergone specialised training in asbestos removal. This ensures that the asbestos is removed safely and without posing a risk to the business, employees or the public.
Building owners and managers who fail to comply with these regulations can face significant penalties and legal consequences. Therefore, it’s essential for them to understand and follow these regulations to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from the risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Overall, it’s important for building owners and managers in Australia to be aware of their legal responsibilities and take the necessary steps to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials in their buildings. By doing so, they can create a safe and healthy environment for all those who work or visit their commercial buildings.
It’s crucial for building owners and managers to take measures to protect employees and customers from asbestos exposure in commercial buildings. Here are some strategies that can be employed to control asbestos further:
1. Training and Education: All employees who may come into contact with asbestos material should receive training and education about the hazards of asbestos and how to identify and avoid exposure. This includes information about the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe work practices when handling or removing asbestos-containing materials.
2. Protective Equipment: PPE such as respirators, gloves, and coveralls can be used to protect employees who are working with or around asbestos-containing materials. It’s important to ensure that employees have access to appropriate PPE and are trained in its use.
3. Ventilation Systems: Proper ventilation systems can help to minimise the concentration of airborne asbestos fibres, reducing the risk of exposure. Building owners and managers should ensure that their ventilation systems are functioning correctly and that they are inspected and maintained regularly.
4. Ongoing Monitoring and Testing: Regular monitoring and testing for asbestos are essential to identify and manage any potential risks. This includes air monitoring to detect the presence of asbestos fibres and inspections of building materials to determine if they contain asbestos.
5. Minimising the Risk of Exposure: Building owners and managers can take steps to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure, such as removing any asbestos-containing materials that are no longer needed, ensuring that all asbestos-containing materials are properly labelled, and implementing safe work practices when handling or removing asbestos-containing materials.
Overall, it’s crucial for building owners and managers to take a proactive approach to protecting employees and customers from asbestos exposure in commercial buildings. By implementing these strategies and staying up-to-date on regulations and laws, building owners and managers can create a safe and healthy workplace environment for all.
In cases where asbestos-containing materials are identified in commercial buildings, it may be necessary to remove them to eliminate the risk of exposure.
Commercial asbestos removal procedures should only be performed by licensed professionals who have the necessary training and equipment to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos-containing materials.
The process of commercial asbestos removal involves a series of steps, including assessing the extent of the contamination, creating a plan for removal, isolating the affected area, and using specialised equipment to safely remove the asbestos-containing materials.
Once the materials have been removed, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned and tested to ensure that all asbestos fibres have been eliminated. Proper commercial asbestos removal is essential to protect the health and well-being of everyone in the building and the area, and building owners and managers must ensure that all necessary safety precautions are taken during the removal process.
It is also important to comply with all relevant federal and state regulations regarding asbestos removal, management and disposal to avoid potential legal and financial liabilities.
Asbestos exposure is a serious health hazard that can have severe and long-lasting effects on the health of employees and customers in commercial buildings. Protecting people from asbestos exposure in commercial buildings requires a comprehensive and proactive approach.
As a building owner or manager, you must ensure that your employees and customers are safe from asbestos exposure. Taking proactive steps to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials in your building can help prevent the serious health risks associated with asbestos exposure. We urge building and commercial property owners and managers to take this issue seriously and to take action to protect their employees and customers from asbestos exposure.
Doing so can create a safe and healthy environment for everyone in your commercial building. Remember, prevention is key when protecting against asbestos exposure, so take action now to safeguard the health and well-being of all who enter your building.
If you’re in Melbourne, Victoria, New South Wales, or South Australia and need to remove asbestos from a commercial or industrial property, we can help you here at Asbestos Australia Removalists. We offer a commercial asbestos removal service with over 20 years of training and experience. Our team is fully licensed and experienced in removing asbestos-containing material of all types, and we can ensure that asbestos is removed from your residential, commercial or industrial property thoroughly and safely. Call us today on 03 9704 2952.
Posted By: Tommy Clappers