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There are new rules in force for dealing with asbestos in buildings used as a workplace, which is generally considered to be any commercial property.

If a building was constructed before 1 January 2004, the person with management or control of a workplace must ensure that all asbestos or Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is identified and prepare an Asbestos Register and a written Asbestos Management Plan.

The register must record any asbestos or ACM, the date on which it was identified, its location, type and condition. Ideally it would incorporate photos of the asbestos or ACM, identifying its location.

The Asbestos Management Plan must set out how asbestos or ACM, which is identified in the workplace, will be managed. In particular, it must include:

  • A link to the Register and the locations of signs and labels
  • Decisions and reasons for those decisions about the management of the asbestos or ACM, including safe work procedures and control measures
  • Procedures for detailing accidents or incidents involving asbestos or ACM
  • Details of workers carrying out work involving asbestos, including information and training responsibilities

The Management Plan must be reviewed regularly and revised at least once every 5 years, or when:

  • There is a review of the Register
  • Asbestos or ACM is removed or disturbed
  • A Health and Safety representative requests a review

The person with management control of the workplace, which could be the occupier or landlord, must ensure the Asbestos Register and Management Plan is readily accessible to:

  • A worker who carries out work at the workplace
  • Workplace Health & Safety representatives
  • A person conducting a business, who carries out work at the workplace

Additionally, if you intend to offer any part of the building for sale or lease, you are obliged to provide a copy of the Register and Management Plan to the proposed purchaser or lessee before the contract is entered into.

Finally, there are significant penalties for failure to comply with these obligations, with fines and imprisonment in the legislation, as well as damages under proposed contracts for sale or lease, if these obligations are not adequately satisfied.

Affected commercial entities have until 1 January 2014 to comply with the new requirements.


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