Asbestos mining began in Australia in the early 1930s and continued on until the mid 1960s.
NSW was the first state in Australia to mine asbestos, producing the most chrysotile asbestos; however the largest asbestos mines were in Western Australia (Wittenoom, Yampire Gorges and Pilbara regions) where crocidolite asbestos was mainly mined.
Usage of Asbestos in Australia
Asbestos was extensively used from the 1950s until 2003 when it was prohibited. In the 1950s more than half the Australian houses used building materials containing asbestos because of its heat resistance and fire proofing properties. Construction materials such as cement sheets, vinyl sheets and mastics, insulating materials such as fire doors, insulating bats and insulating boards, air conditioning, plant equipment (autoclaves and gaskets) and automotive components, all contained asbestos.
Legislation of Asbestos in Australia
Under the NOHSC Code of Practice in Australia, asbestos was banned in December 2003 with a limited and restricted number of exemptions applied until December 2007. However, the Australian asbestos ban does not apply to the removal and disposal of asbestos; in situ products; bona fide research and/or analysis; as an item of display in museums; and chrysotile asbestos encountered during non-asbestos mining.
Management of Asbestos in Australia
Asbestos can be managed in Australia by following the steps below:
Asbestos containing material (ACM) can be identified through an asbestos inspection where a competent person identifies all ACM within a property in accessible areas. The location and condition of the ACM is noted.
Following the identification, the potential risk of the asbestos is assessed.
Appropriate measures are then taken to control or eliminate the risk, and involve regular inspections of the ACM or its removal depending on the condition.
An ACM register must be maintained at the premises containing the location of all identified asbestos material, their condition and the control measures taken by the property owner.
All residents/ employees must be notified about any ACM in the premises.
Asbestos Check provides commercial and domestic clients with extensive asbestos inspection services covering asbestos identification, testing, inspection and management.