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The WHS regulations spell out the specific obligations of those who are responsible to manage and control asbestos or asbestos containing materials. It is the person who is conducting a business or undertaking in a building that has duties to manage asbestos. This may include:
• The owner or manager of the business
• The owner or management company that owns the building that can make decisions as to the altering of the structure even if the building is being leased to someone else who is conducting business within the building.
Duties Of Person Conducting Business, But Does Not Own The Building
Many times a person conducts business in a building they do not own and have not been given rights to make any structural changes to. In such cases the person conducting the business still has the duty to manage asbestos or any asbestos containing material in the workplace in the following ways:
• Eliminate or reduce the risk of airborne asbestos exposure to their employees and the public.
• Notify the building owner or anyone who can make decisions about altering the structure and having the asbestos removed.
• Consult with his employees and make known the hazards and risks and see that they have proper training to identify those risks and know how to use protective gear to reduce their risk of exposure
• Label the area if possible
• Monitor the heath of your employees that may have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.
Person In Charge Of The Premises That Can Make Structural Decisions
If you are the owner of a building or a person who can make decisions regarding structural changes to the building ( such as the management company) then it is your duty to:
• Ensure that a asbestos management plan is prepared, maintained, and reviewed
• ensure that the asbestos is registered and a copy is given to anyone carrying out the removal of the asbestos
• ensure that they only hire a fully trained and licensed person or persons to conduct the removal.
• Co-operate, co-ordinate and consult with the tenant who is operating in the building to ensure that all safety issues are covered and all safety regulations have been adhered to.
In summary while it is up to the person who has control of the building to manage asbestos and asbestos containing material and see that it is properly removed or sealed to prevent further exposure in order to protect the tenants in the building. It is still your duty as the business owner or manager to protect your employees health and safety even if you happen to rent the building.
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