In the wake of devastating property losses during this bushfire season, WorkSafe is reminding Victorians to take particular care during the clean-up of their properties to avoid potential exposure to asbestos.
Less than 25 years ago, asbestos was a frequently used material in roofing, sheet walls, ceilings and in moulded products.
Other common asbestos-containing materials and products included vinyl floor tiles and sheets, insulation materials, and sealants.
Lisa Sturzenegger, WorkSafe’s Health and Safety general manager for operations, said, “We’re asking people undertaking a clean up of bushfire-damaged property to take particular care to avoid disturbing asbestos fibres.
“The safest way to remove asbestos, particularly if the asbestos is friable, that is it is crumbling or disintegrating, is to contact a licensed asbestos remover. There is a list of licensed asbestos removers at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au,” Ms Sturzenegger said.
“We strongly encourage property owners not to attempt to remove asbestos materials themselves. If you suspect that you have asbestos on your property, there is really only one way to identify it, by having it checked by an analyst accredited by the National Association Testing Authority.
In general, most asbestos materials used in the construction of houses are solid in nature and do not pose a significant risk. However, when asbestos is exposed to high temperatures, such as those found in bushfires, it can become less-solid (friable) and begin to crumble. This may result in the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere.
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