The Queensland Government hosted a free seminar on working safely with asbestos to mark Asbestos Awareness Week (21-27 November) and resources from the event are available online from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
The resources can help tradies and homeowners and anyone else caught up in the post COVID-19 and holiday renovation boom. These include the latest updates in the asbestos industry and tips on where asbestos is likely to be found in houses and how to dispose of it safely.
Asbestos was often used in the building industry from the 1940s to 1980s, including rooves. If you are working on a property built or renovated before 1990, it is likely to contain products with asbestos. It is estimated that up to 3000 asbestos containing materials could have been used in the construction of an average residential home built during this period.
Asbestos products in good condition are not a risk. But, if they are disturbed, broken, sanded, blasted with high pressure water or cut, they can become harmful, releasing asbestos fibres into the air, putting the health of yourself and others at risk. You cannot see asbestos fibres as they are invisible to the naked eye, but they are still dangerous.
With summer storms on the way, the WHSQ resources highlight the dangers of using high-pressure water blasters on asbestos products, which attracts huge fines and clean-up costs to protect the surrounding community. Queensland Safety Advocates, Julie and Don Sager also share their firsthand account of the dangers associated with asbestos, after losing their son Adam to mesothelioma at just 25 years old.
As part of Asbestos Awareness Week, WHSQ launched a series of films about how to locate common asbestos containing materials in your home, as well as five new illustrations on disposing and identifying asbestos in your home.
Check out the Films | Asbestos and illustrations at https://www.asbestos.qld.gov.au/resources/guidance.
More information on how to work safely with asbestos (for licensed asbestos removalists, professional tradespeople and DIY home renovators) is at Practical guidance | Asbestos.