Taskforce releases loose fill asbestos safety guide for tradies
Chair of the NSW Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Taskforce Dave Owens said the guide features important safety advice for businesses and workers who may be involved in asbestos-related work.
“Loose-fill asbestos ceiling insulation was installed in a number of NSW residential properties in the 1960’s and 70’s by a company which traded as Mr Fluffy,” Mr Owens said.
“According to NSW Health, if breathed in asbestos fibres pose a risk to health and it is very important businesses and workers to take precautions to minimise the risk of exposure.
“If disturbed, loose fill asbestos fibres can migrate from the ceiling to other areas of the home, such as walls and sub-floor areas or become airborne and inhaled.
“Any openings within a property, including cracks and vents can also cause asbestos fibres to migrate into living spaces, such as lounge rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen areas.
“The guide helps anyone who may be working in a loose fill asbestos affected property to understand the work health and safety risks.”
Mr Owens said only workers who are appropriately licensed and trained in asbestos safe work and removal procedures should enter the sub-floor, wall cavities or roof space of a loose-fill asbestos affected property.
“No workers, including electricians, plumbers, pest control or communication workers should enter the sub-floor, wall cavities or roof space of a loose-fill asbestos affected home unless they are a Class A licensed asbestos removalist, licensed asbestos assessor or other worker trained in safe working and removal procedures,” he said.
“Any work which penetrates walls, ceilings, or floors which may disturb loose-fill asbestos should be done by a competent person, such as a licensed asbestos assessor, so that the risks can be assessed and expert advice provided.
“Maintenance activities must also be limited to work that does not disturb loose-fill asbestos in sub-floor, roof space or wall cavities.”
“If a worker is concerned that a property may contain loose-fill asbestos insulation, they should stop work immediately, notify the home owner or occupier and ask them to arrange for the material to be tested.”
Free ceiling insulation tests are being offered to NSW homeowners across 26 local government areas until August 2015 as part of the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) independent investigation into loose fill asbestos in NSW.
For further information and advice on loose fill asbestos go to http://loosefillasbestos.nsw.gov.au/ or call Service NSW on 13 77 88.