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Risk Management - the issue of Asbestos in your School

Posted on 19 December 2017
Risk Management - the issue of Asbestos in your School
With electricians walking off the job at the Sydney Opera House after being exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres recently, we're reminded that those managing workplaces are legally responsible for protecting the health and safety of everyone using their facilities.

The negative media reports, the potential fines, and the health risks for those who come in contact with the deadly fibres, drive home the importance of proper hazardous materials management. So in this RiskED article, we look at CCI's new service that makes taking control of the situation easier than ever.

To simplify the process of hazardous materials management, CCI has partnered with Trinitas Group to offer clients a range of services including:
  • Asbestos Surveys
  • Asbestos Registers
  • Asbestos Register Reviews
  • Asbestos Management Plans
  • Collection and analysis of asbestos samples
  • Asbestos remediation
  • Asbestos air monitoring during asbestos remediation works
  • Asbestos clearance inspections and clearance certificates
  • All states and territories have acts and regulations outlining your school's, parish's or employer's responsibilities with regard to asbestos. Many also have codes of practice or compliance codes you need to address and hefty fines if you don't.
CCI and Trinitas Group can help you comply with your regulatory requirements. Whether you've never had your property inspected or you need an existing asbestos register reviewed, our partners, Trinitas Group have licenced, experienced professionals who make asbestos and hazardous material management simple.

Words from the wise

During our RiskEd series, we've brought in industry experts to share their knowledge on each topic. For this article, Denny Bolatti, General Manager, WHS & Occupational Hygiene at Trinitas Group, spoke to us about the services his company offers CCI clients, and about the changing attitudes to managing potentially deadly materials.

"What we've learnt by talking to the decision makers in the dioceses and archdioceses is that many organisations, such as parishes and schools have never had someone come out and complete a Hazardous Materials Survey. A lot of the time we hear, 'We haven't done one in the last 100 years, why should we do it now?'

"So we just start the discussion about what the legislation says (i.e. every five years the person in control of a workplace is required to carry out a Hazardous Materials Register review), and explain the benefits. It's a process.

"There are a few parts to the CCI service. The one that's been most popular so far is the Hazardous Materials Survey. It includes surveying properties for hazardous materials like asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl, and synthetic mineral fibres. We go onsite, we collect samples of materials, the samples go to a lab, they get analysed, and we put all those results into a register with photos for clients.

"One of the reasons why registers are mandatory is so contractors can go onsite and know exactly where the hazardous materials are located. They can look at the register and say that has asbestos in it, so we're not going to drill into that.

"Another service is our Hazardous Material Survey Reviews. Where a client already has a register, every five years we go onsite and make sure the materials that have been identified in their register are still in good condition.

"On top of surveys and survey reviews, Trinitas Group also provide a remediation service. For materials in poor condition, we organise remediation works. That means if any asbestos materials have been damaged, we organise for their removal or encapsulation, or whatever control method may be required.

"What CCI want to do in partnership with Trinitas Group, is to provide clients with a one-stop shop. We take them through the journey from initial survey to remediation, to providing them with an Asbestos Management Plan.

"We've been called out to a private school where carpenters were asked to pull down a few internal walls. The school didn't have a Hazardous Materials Register so they were never told the walls were made of asbestos. They started drilling into the walls not knowing they were going to be exposed to asbestos fibres. It wasn't until a builder with more experience said, 'Look, I think this wall is made from asbestos,' that they stopped the job. We turned up onsite, collected samples of the material and took it to the lab to get analysed. It was confirmed the material had asbestos fibres in it. We organised an asbestos removal company to clean up the area and make sure the fibres hadn't travelled to any adjoining rooms.

"Part of our role is to then undertake a clearance inspection. We have trained, licenced asbestos assessors who go in after removal works to make sure there is no more asbestos in the area, and then issue a clearance certificate.

"You've got students in schools, you've got teachers, you've got parents, and when they hear the word asbestos, they worry. Asbestos is a known risk, so it's extremely important, especially amongst Catholic schools, that they engage someone to complete a Hazardous Materials Survey. These types of situations have the potential to reach the media so there are reputational issues as well as serious health risks.

"CCI is very flexible with the delivery of the service. It can be staged over one or five years. We can also work around the client's timeframes as well as being considerate to their budgets."

If you're interested in our new Asbestos Management service, please visit our Services page or contact Helpdesk to make an appointment.

Want to know more?

For more information about managing asbestos at your school or college. We recommend:

Asbestos Hazard

Last year's RiskED article on asbestos

For more information about managing hazardous materials visit safeworkaustralia.gov.au/asbestos

For information about your specific legal requirements, visit the WorkSafe site of your state or territory
Tags: Risk Management

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