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WorkSafe has launched a new tool on its website today to help businesses to develop their asbestos management plans. The launch coincides with Asbestos Awareness Week.
Businesses have a duty to manage risks associated with asbestos exposure, including completing an asbestos management plan if required. The plan must be kept at the workplace and be available to workers and other businesses operating there.
“WorkSafe responded to feedback and worked with businesses to develop an easy-to-use template that guides them through the process of providing the required information,” WorkSafe Head of Health and Technical Services Catherine Epps said.
An asbestos management plan sets out where any identified asbestos or asbestos-containing material (ACM) is present, its condition and how it will be managed. These plans are required by the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 for workplaces where asbestos or ACM has been identified, or is likely to be present.
“We have a goal of reducing asbestos-related disease by 50% by the year 2040. Our asbestos licensing regime is designed to protect the health of workers and others.
“Asbestos Awareness Week highlights the importance of understanding the risks associated with asbestos exposure, and how to manage them. The hazardous product is still found in many buildings and structures, but with good information businesses can make robust decisions to protect workers and others who might be at risk,” Ms Epps said.
WorkSafe has comprehensive information on its website, including what businesses are required to do about managing asbestos exposure risks.
Asbestos was used to make products that comprised of asbestos mixed with cement until the mid-1980s. Buildings constructed or renovated before 2000 are likely to contain asbestos. Building products containing asbestos were banned in 2016.
In stable and contained state asbestos is not dangerous. It is only when the fibres become airborne that they become a risk to health.
Asbestos when it is not managed safely can cause serious harm. Currently approximately 220 people die of asbestos-related disease (lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis) in New Zealand each year.