New asbestos guide to protect rural and regional residents

Media Release | 16/10/2017

A new guide to help protect people living and working in rural and regional NSW from the dangers of naturally occurring asbestos was launched by the NSW Government today.

The guide, developed by the NSW Government body responsible for asbestos safety in NSW, the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA), will assist property owners to prevent and minimise exposure to naturally occurring asbestos on their properties and farms.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW and HACA Chair, Peter Dunphy said it was Australia’s first comprehensive guide to managing naturally occurring asbestos.

“Naturally occurring asbestos can be found in rocks, sediments and soils in parts of regional NSW,” Mr Dunphy said.

“In its natural state, asbestos presents the same health risks as asbestos contained in building products.

“This guide helps people living and working in rural and regional NSW to safely manage the risk of exposure to naturally occurring asbestos on properties where it may be present.”

The Guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to determine if a property is located in a region where naturally occurring asbestos may be present. It also contains information on how to conduct a risk assessment, testing, training requirements for workers, safe work procedures and control measures, and disposal.

Mr Dunphy added that while only one percent of land in NSW is believed to contain naturally occurring asbestos, it was vital that those living and working where it has been identified take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety.

“Under work health and safety laws, property owners, managers and workers must take appropriate precautions to ensure naturally occurring asbestos is identified and managed safely,” he said.

“The Guide outlines how to safely manage naturally occurring asbestos in accordance with NSW work health and safety laws.

“I urge all those living and working in areas where naturally occurring asbestos may be present to download a copy of the Guide to help ensure the safety of themselves, their workers and loved ones.”

The Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Asbestos Management Plan Guide was developed by HACA in consultation with key stakeholders.

The Guide was launched in Orange as part of the ‘Betty – the ADRI House’ NSW regional tour for National Asbestos Awareness Month 2017. Local Government NSW will also be conducting a series of workshops with councils on the Guide in affected regions.

You can download a copy of the Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Asbestos Management Plan Guide from the Asbestos Awareness website.

For more information, visit SafeWork's web page on naturally occurring asbestos or call 13 10 50 for more information.

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