Asbestos is a hazardous material that poses a risk to health by inhalation if the asbestos fibres become airborne and people are exposed to these airborne fibres.
Exposure to asbestos fibres is known to cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
It is important for employees who may work in buildings that contain asbestos to know where it is likely to be found and how to avoid exposure.
Asbestos-containing materials were used extensively in Australian buildings and structures, plant and equipment and in ships, trains and motor vehicles during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and some uses, including some friction materials and gaskets, were only discontinued on 31 December 2003.
The well-known adverse health consequences of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres can be prevented if precautions are taken and appropriate procedures are followed. Strong management and control of all asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in the workplace is essential.
The risks posed by asbestos vary depending on the nature and condition of the materials and the potential for exposure.
Asbestos awareness training can help identify and reduce workplace risks.
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