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Does Your Office Have an Asbestos Register?
An asbestos register is a written record that identifies all asbestos known to exist within a building. This includes asbestos materials that were used to construct the building when it was first created as well as asbestos that may be used within a facility for business purposes. The goal of the register is to clearly identify the presence of asbestos since it is a material that can negatively impact the health of everyone working in the office.
Information to Include
The following information should be included in an asbestos register, but you may also add other information that you find relevant to your particular office:
- Specific locations for all asbestos materials known to exist in the building
- Dates on which the asbestos materials were discovered within the building
- Dates or times at which asbestos may be used within the building
- Types of asbestos identified within the building
- Condition of all asbestos materials known to exist within the building
- Inspection reports verifying that the asbestos material is or is not hazardous to humans
- Information regarding inaccessible areas of the building that may contain asbestos
Anything to do with asbestos within your building should be detailed in the register. This information is used to properly maintain the building and ensure that all repairs and renovations are carried out in a safe manner. Asbestos fibres are easily released into the air when these materials are disturbed even slightly, so it is important for all maintenance workers to be aware of materials and areas that contain asbestos.
Do You Need an Asbestos Register?
If all of the following criteria apply to your office, then you may not need to keep an asbestos record in your office building:
- Your building was built after December 31, 2003
- No asbestos or material containing asbestos has ever been identified in your building
- No asbestos is known to enter the building at any time now or in the future
All three of these criteria must apply to a building in order to opt out of keeping a register. You do have the option of keeping one on hand just to ensure that your building lives up to Australian asbestos regulation. You can simply state in the register that no asbestos is known to exist within the building. As long as that does not change, you do not have to update the record. You can also use this statement if your building was constructed before December 31, 2003 but you have never identified any asbestos materials within the building.
It is important to keep the asbestos register updated so that future management or maintenance workers can refer to this information. It is important to keep an eye on the areas of the building known to contain asbestos so that any damage to those materials can be handled quickly. The smallest disturbance or breakage could lead to asbestos exposure for everyone in the building. If your office doesn’t have a register, use the above listed criteria to determine if you need one. If you do, take care of that immediately so that you are in compliance with Australian law.
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