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Legislation Update – Asbestos Compliance, You now have more time

As you are no doubt already aware, the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 introduced new requirements for PCBU’s to identify any Asbestos in their property and to implement an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan. The implementation date for these requirements depended on when the building was constructed.

The Queensland government has recently made the decision to delay the implementation date for buildings constructed between 1st January 1990 and 31st December 2003, until 1 January 2014.

What This Means for Bodies Corporate:

If you have already started putting up motions and getting your Asbestos Surveys, keep doing what you are doing.

If you haven’t started, you should start rolling motions for all of your buildings constructed before 2004 to ensure that they are compliant by 1 January 2014.

The Revised Implementation Period:

Buildings constructed before 1990.

These buildings still have no grace period for compliance. Why? Pre 1990 buildings were required to have an asbestos survey completed under the previous legislation. The new legislation increases the scope of the onsite asbestos register and includes the new requirement for an Asbestos Management Plan.

Buildings constructed between 1st January 1990 and 31st December 2003.

The grace period means that these buildings can move motions for Asbestos compliance throughout 2012 and ensure any required Onsite Asbestos Registers and Asbestos Management Plans are in place before 1st January 2014 when the transitional period ends.

The change to the transitional period may represent an intention on behalf of the Attorney-General to review or change the requirements relating to Asbestos under WH&S. We will be sure to keep you posted if any new information comes to light.

While the transitional requirements create some breathing space, it is important to remember that this does not release building owners or bodies corporate from their obligations to the safety of workers engaged on their property. Building owners or bodies corporate should ensure their properties comply with these new requirements as soon as possible, in order to minimise the risk of litigation. It is important to remember that the costs incurred from litigation can often outweigh the fines imposed by legislation.

The Requirements:

The legislation states that all buildings constructed before 31 December 2003 will need the following:

Asbestos Survey

  • Identifies any asbestos
  • Identifies asbestos containing material (ACM)
  • Provides a risk assessment of any asbestos that is identified

If Asbestos is identified in the Asbestos Survey then you will also need

Asbestos Register

  • Survey indicating location of asbestos and ACM
  • Risk Control Measures
  • Tradesperson Asbestos Register Activity Logbook
  • Safe Work Practices for common activities, such as painting, drilling and cleaning gutters

Asbestos Management Plan

  • Labelling Asbestos or ACM with appropriate warnings
  • Site plan indicating location of asbestos and ACM
  • Risk assessment and control measures
  • Incident Management Compliance information
  • Practical guidelines for managing asbestos and safe work practices

Why should I comply?

Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, the maximum penalty for non-compliance is a $30,000 fine. However, if your failure to comply leads to a serious illness (mesothelioma), you may face a $3 million fine, 5 years prison and/or damages from civil litigation.

To conclude, while the transitional date has been pushed back, Buildings constructed before 1 January 1990 already have requirements for an Asbestos Survey and to implement an Asbestos Register and Management Plan.  For newer bodies corporate, you should pass motions to make sure that they comply by 1 January 2014.

Significant Fines apply for non-compliance, organise your Asbestos Survey, Management Plan and Register today!

For your FREE Asbestos Information Pack simply reply email or call 1300 136 036 and you will be up to date with the latest in Asbestos Legislation and requirements. 

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