Crafting a Safer Future: Implementing a Long-Term Plan for Asbestos Removal in Victoria

A long-term plan for asbestos removal is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s a commitment to public health. This article cuts through the complexity to outline the essential phases of planning, executing, and monitoring the removal of asbestos in Melbourne & Victoria.

Focusing on practical steps and regulatory compliance, we provide insights into successfully eradicating this silent health hazard. Engage with the strategies, roles of authorities, and safe disposal practices crucial for assuring a safe living and working environment free from asbestos.

Key Takeaways

  • Long-term strategic planning is crucial for effectively removing asbestos from the environment, reducing the risk of asbestos-related diseases and ensuring safe living and working spaces.
  • The Victorian Asbestos Eradication Agency (VAEA) plays a critical role in asbestos removal by identifying asbestos in government buildings and prioritizing its safe eradication, thereby setting an example for nationwide asbestos management and removal practices.
  • Asbestos removal is a complex procedure requiring strict adherence to health and safety regulations, use of protective gear, licensed removalists for handling and disposal, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of the removal process and protect public health.

The Importance of a Long-Term Asbestos Removal Plan

Asbestos, a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres, has been classified as carcinogenic to humans, meaning it can cause cancer. Exposure to these asbestos fibres can lead to diseases such as:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Increased risk of cancer in the larynx and ovaries.

Given the severe health risks associated with asbestos, it’s evident that removing asbestos-containing materials from our environment is a pressing issue. It prevents future asbestos exposures and significantly reduces the risk of asbestos-related diseases, contributing to the safety of Victorian workplaces and communities.

Nonetheless, asbestos removal isn’t a task that can be accomplished in a single attempt. It requires a long-term plan that maintains autonomy in the removal procedure and executes a nationally uniform and synchronized strategy for asbestos awareness, management, and removal.

The absence of a long-term plan could lead to asbestos fibres becoming airborne, posing a significant health risk if inhaled. While the risk is minimized if the asbestos is sealed, undamaged, and left undisturbed, a proactive approach towards its removal is the best way to prevent asbestos-related diseases.

The Role of the Victorian Asbestos Eradication Agency (VAEA)

The Victorian Asbestos Eradication Agency (VAEA), a subsidiary of WorkSafe Victoria, plays a pivotal role in securing a safer environment free from asbestos. It identifies the presence of asbestos in over 12,000 government-owned buildings and develops a prioritised removal plan.

The VAEA’s objective is to enhance the safety of the built environment for workers and communities in Victorian government buildings. Through the identification and prioritisation of asbestos removal, the agency’s goal is to alleviate the risks linked to asbestos exposure, thereby lessening the occurrence of asbestos-related diseases.

In this way, the VAEA not only contributes to a healthier, safer environment for the Victorian community, but it also sets a precedent for other regions in the country to follow, leading the way towards a comprehensive, nationwide approach to asbestos eradication.

Identifying and Assessing Asbestos Hazards

Determining the presence of asbestos in our built environment is the first step towards its eradication. Asbestos can be found in various asbestos products, such as:

  • asbestos cement sheet
  • moulded products
  • waterproofing
  • vinyl floor tiles
  • adhesives
  • cement
  • roofing shingles

There are several indicators of asbestos presence in workplace buildings. Some of them include the age of the building (if it was constructed or renovated before 1990), damaged drywall or insulation material, and other observable cues.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) mandate that individuals overseeing workplaces identify and manage asbestos-related risks. This includes obligations related to the identification, labelling, and upkeep of an asbestos register.

Accurate identification and assessment of asbestos hazards enables us to:

  • Safeguard our workers and communities more effectively against the health risks posed by asbestos exposure
  • Take a crucial step in the long-term strategy for asbestos removal
  • Prevent asbestos-related diseases

Strategies for Asbestos Removal and Disposal

Asbestos removal demands meticulous planning and precise execution. To ensure safety and compliance, it is essential to:

  1. Adhere to regulations for both licensed and unlicensed removal.
  2. Engage licensed removalists.
  3. Use personal protective equipment throughout the removal procedure.

The equipment necessary for safely removing asbestos includes:

  • Disposable coveralls
  • Laceless shoes
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Protective eyewear

Such protective gear helps prevent inhaling asbestos fibres, reducing the risk of asbestos-related diseases.

Adherence to regulations and guidelines regarding asbestos disposal is essential to prevent asbestos waste from transforming into another hazard. Here are some critical steps to follow:

  1. Proper transportation and storage of asbestos waste
  2. Transfer of asbestos waste to a designated disposal site
  3. Carry out these steps by the guidance provided in Publication IWRG611.2.

Using a licensed asbestos removalist for asbestos disposal in Victorian government buildings is highly recommended. This ensures that all removal and disposal is carried out by a competent individual who is familiar with safety guidelines and regulations. Do-it-yourself asbestos removal is not only potentially dangerous, but it may also be unlawful.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation of the asbestos removal process are vital for validating the efficacy of the long-term asbestos removal plan. The most effective techniques for monitoring asbestos removal include:

  • Overseeing workers throughout the removal process
  • Carrying out asbestos air monitoring to evaluate exposure and control measures
  • Conducting regular visual reinspections and air monitoring of asbestos-containing materials

These measures ensure that the removal of asbestos process is carried out safely and effectively.

The effectiveness of an asbestos removal process is assessed through air monitoring. This involves sampling airborne asbestos fibres to evaluate exposure and the efficiency of control measures.

Nonetheless, the monitoring and evaluation process presents its own challenges. Some of these challenges include:

  • The requirement for health monitoring before initiating the work
  • The consideration of continual maintenance and repair expenses
  • Deficiencies in regulatory measures and documentation

These challenges can arise during the monitoring and evaluation process.

The tools and equipment typically utilised in the monitoring and evaluating asbestos removal processes include HEPA-filtered H-Class industrial vacuum cleaners. These specialized tools help to ensure that all asbestos fibres are effectively captured and removed.

The asbestos removal process should be periodically evaluated and monitored. Inspections every 3 to 5 years are recommended. Furthermore, the asbestos management plan should be reviewed concurrently with the asbestos register or a control measure review.

Community Engagement and Education

Community engagement and education are central to the success of the long-term asbestos removal plan. Conveying the potential human health impacts stemming from exposure to airborne asbestos fibres is key to raising public awareness about the dangers of asbestos.

There are several strategies for engaging the community in asbestos removal efforts. These include:

  • Raising awareness about asbestos
  • Facilitating proper waste disposal
  • Involving Community Recycling Centres
  • Engaging the private sector
  • International collaboration

Community engagement and education initiatives have proven to be successful. A notable example is the asbestos education program conducted by Wollongong City Council as part of the annual Asbestos Awareness Campaign, which has achieved significant success.

Local governments and health departments play a significant part in educating the public about asbestos. They are responsible for:

  • Ensuring community awareness of asbestos safety
  • Work Health
  • Local environmental protection
  • Asbestos waste management


In conclusion, the fight against asbestos-related diseases is a multi-pronged strategy. The comprehensive, long-term plan for asbestos removal involves the crucial roles of the Victorian Asbestos Eradication Agency, proper identification and assessment of asbestos hazards, and the implementation of safe and efficient removal and disposal strategies. Equally important is the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of these processes and our communities’ continuous engagement and education. Together, we can create a safer future, free from the threat of asbestos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some control measures used in dealing with asbestos?

To deal with asbestos, engineering controls, work practice controls, and personal protective equipment are used to prevent overexposure. Engineering controls involve isolating the exposure source and using ventilation equipped with HEPA filters.

What are the guidelines for asbestos exposure?

The workplace asbestos exposure guideline is a time-weighted average of 0.1 f/mL. Be sure to adhere to this standard to minimize the risk of exposure.

What is the standard for asbestos in Australia?

Asbestos use has been banned in Australia since the end of 2003, including import, manufacture, supply, sale, use, or reuse, except under minimal circumstances.

How do I report asbestos in Victoria?

To report asbestos in Victoria, you can contact WorkSafe Victoria at 1800 136 089 for illegally dumped asbestos or report it to the EPA’s 24-hour pollution hotline at 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842). It’s essential to report any sightings of illegally dumped asbestos immediately.

What are the potential health hazards linked to asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure can lead to severe health issues, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, and also increases the risk of other cancers in the body. It is crucial to avoid asbestos exposure to protect your health.

Tommy Clappers

Tommy Clappers

Tommy Clappers is the Owner and Founder of Asbestos Australia Removalist specialising as a Class A & B Licensed Company with highly trained ticketed staff with over 25+ years in the industry in Friable & Non-Friable Commercial, Industrial & Domestic. He's well-skilled in all types of Asbestos Removal and Hazardous Materials. He's an expert in Encapsulation, Soil Remediation and Industrial Cleaning. He prides himself on creating safer environments for his team and his client's safety and ensuring every removal is safe and clean. He currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Posted By: Tommy Clappers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Deprecated: File Theme without sidebar.php is deprecated since version 3.0.0 with no alternative available. Please include a sidebar.php template in your theme. in /home10/asbesto4/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5583