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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.
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:
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 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.
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:
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:
Asbestos removal demands meticulous planning and precise execution. To ensure safety and compliance, it is essential to:
The equipment necessary for safely removing asbestos includes:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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 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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Asbestos use has been banned in Australia since the end of 2003, including import, manufacture, supply, sale, use, or reuse, except under minimal circumstances.
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.
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.
Posted By: Tommy Clappers