Managing Asbestos Hazards in Australian Workplaces


In the realm of occupational health and safety, managing asbestos hazards remains a critical issue in Australian workplaces. Asbestos, once heralded as a wonder material, is now recognized for its severe health implications. This article aims to unravel the complexities surrounding asbestos management, aligning with Australian safety standards and legal requirements.

Understanding Asbestos

History and Use in Australia: Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral, was widely used in Australian construction and manufacturing industries until the late 20th century. Its fire-resistant and insulating properties made it a popular choice in a range of applications.

Health Risks: The inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to serious diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. These conditions often develop years after exposure, making early detection challenging.

Regulatory Framework

National Legislation: In Australia, the management of asbestos is governed by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, underpinned by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. It mandates strict guidelines for asbestos management in workplaces.

State-Level Legislation: Each state and territory in Australia has specific regulations and codes of practice that complement national legislation. Employers must familiarise themselves with both national and local laws.

Identifying and Assessing Asbestos Risks

Asbestos Surveys: Regular asbestos surveys are crucial in identifying the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in workplaces. These surveys should be conducted by licensed professionals.

Risk Assessment: Once identified, a risk assessment must be performed to evaluate the potential for fibre release and exposure.

Asbestos Management Plans

Development and Implementation: An asbestos management plan is essential for any workplace with identified ACMs. This plan outlines procedures for handling, maintenance, and eventual removal of asbestos.

Training and Awareness: Educating employees about the risks associated with asbestos and training them in safe handling practices are pivotal components of an effective management plan.

Control and Removal of Asbestos

Control Measures: Where asbestos removal is not immediately feasible, control measures such as encapsulation or sealing should be implemented to minimise exposure.

Safe Removal Practices: The removal of asbestos must be carried out by licensed professionals, following strict safety protocols to prevent contamination.

Emergency Response and Incident Management

In the event of accidental asbestos disturbance or exposure, having an emergency response plan is vital. This plan should include immediate containment measures and health monitoring of potentially exposed individuals.


Managing asbestos hazards in Australian workplaces is a complex but essential task. By adhering to legislative requirements, conducting thorough risk assessments, and implementing robust management plans, employers can significantly mitigate the risks posed by asbestos, ensuring a safer work environment.

If you would like to know more or would like our assistance in the areas mentioned check us out at Alternately, call us on 1300 990 336 or email us at [email protected]

author avatar
Brendan Day Chief Executive Officer
Brendan Day, based in Sydney, is a WHS and Emergency Management expert with a rich background in emergency services, including significant experience as a military firefighter, emergency responder, and emergency response manager. His career spans across both public and private sector roles, where he has developed and implemented comprehensive WHS management and Emergency Management systems. As the CEO and Principle Trainer at Intrinsic Safety, Brendan combines his military discipline with modern safety practices, offering advanced training in workplace health, fire safety, confined spaces, height safety and first aid. His qualifications, including a Diploma of Work Health and Safety, reflect his commitment to safety excellence and continuous improvement in emergency response management and safety practices.
Previous Post

The Use of Portable Ladders to Work at Height

Next Post

Protecting Workers from Heat Stress

Start typing to see you are looking for.