Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors will begin auditing businesses operating from buildings likely to contain asbestos (likely if built before 1990), and those that handle or store asbestos from next month.
The audits will focus on compliance with the requirement for businesses to develop asbestos registers and management plans in accordance with the Management of Asbestos and Associated Risks regulation (Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, Part 8.3). Inspectors will take enforcement action, including statutory notices and on-the-spot fines, if they find non-compliance with this requirement.
The statewide audit campaign is part of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019–2023 which aims to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in Australia by preventing exposure to asbestos fibres. This requires effectively targeting asbestos use and disposal, while addressing the harmful legacy of asbestos in homes, workplaces, and the environment.
In a similar compliance audit last year, inspectors assessed a total of 116 businesses with 65 enforcement actions including 55 improvement notices, seven infringement notices, and three records of immediate compliance where the contravention was able to be remedied before the inspector left the workplace.
Common locations of materials containing asbestos in a commercial building provides guidance to help identify where asbestos is likely to be found.