Managing the asbestos risk

Recently, a client asked me about asbestos risk and the regulations around management of a commercial property.

There are unknown requirements in the Work Safe Victoria Code of Compliance which clearly and distinctly outlines the requirements and necessity for commercial property managers to maintain a fully up to date asbestos register, more formally known as a Division 5 Audit.

Many property owners have the misconception that this is not a necessity and if it ever becomes required they we “deal with it!” Let me ask this then. There’s an emergency situation involving a fire officer or a SES officer and they are at your premise and you’re not. How do they now know what is safe to deal with, and what is not? Answer – the asbestos register! No longer an irrelevant document, is it?

Last year in Melbourne alone the MFB attended in excess of one commercial fire per day where the presence of asbestos was identified through the asbestos register on site. Post storms the SES responded to a similar number and this document potentially saved lives.

Asbestos risk is extremely manageable if the exact details of the occurrences are known. Knowledge and experience now provides subcontractors and emergency service staff with the ability to comfortably work in the presence of asbestos containing material, provided the regulations, appropriate PPE and common sense are all used.

If you have a commercial premise don’t wait until Work Safe visits your premise and issues you a penalty notice. Act today! Call SCAADA and request one of our experienced staff attend your site and conduct an assessment to identify the presence of asbestos containing material under your responsibility. The phone call and register will be significantly cheaper than the fine!

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