New employees must undergo essential asbestos safety training. This training instills awareness and competence in handling the risks of asbestos exposure.
It's not just a legal requirement, but also a crucial investment in employee well-being and organisational integrity.
What are the legal requirements for asbestos awareness training for new employees?
Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws across Australia mandate a general duty for a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide information, training, instruction, or supervision necessary to safeguard workers from risk.
Under the model WHS laws, applicable in all jurisdictions except Victoria and Western Australia, a PCBU is obligated to ensure the provision of suitable and adequate information, training, instruction, or supervision to protect all individuals from risks.
According to the Model Code of Practice provided by Safe Work Australia, topics that should be covered in training include:
- Purpose of the training
- Health risks
- Types, uses and likely presence of asbestos in the workplace
- The PCBU’s and the worker’s roles and responsibilities under the asbestos management plan
- Where the register is located, how it can be accessed and how to understand the information contained in it
- Processes and safe work procedures to be followed to prevent exposure
- The correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
- Implementing control measures and safe work methods to eliminate or minimise risks to limit the exposure to workers and other persons
- Purpose of any exposure monitoring or health monitoring that may occur
What are the training requirements in states that deviate from the model WHS laws?
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT adds training requirements to the model WHS laws. PCBUs in the ACT must ensure specific workers complete the 10675NAT Course in Asbestos Awareness.
Additionally, workers in certain occupations must undergo the 10852NAT Course in Working Safely with Asbestos Containing Materials. Notably, all asbestos removal work in the ACT requires licensed removalists, and licensed assessors handle identification and related tasks exclusively.
As per the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must provide employees, including independent contractors, with necessary information, instruction, training, or supervision to ensure safe and healthy work.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 mandate record-keeping for employers and self-employed individuals involved in limited asbestos removal work. Employers must also document training for asbestos-related activities and retain these records.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) mandates employers to provide essential information, instruction, training, and supervision to employees, including those in contractor and labour hire arrangements. Record-keeping of this training is required for at least five years.
Can the training be customised for different job roles within an organisation?
Yes, safety training can and should be tailored to specific job roles. Customisation ensures that employees receive relevant information and skills specific to their responsibilities, minimising risks associated with their particular tasks.
What measures are in place to ensure the quality of these safety training programs?
Quality assurance measures include accreditation of training providers, adherence to industry standards, and periodic audits to assess the effectiveness of training programs. This ensures that employees receive accurate and up-to-date information.
Are there online options for safety training for remote or distributed teams?
Yes, many programs offer online options to accommodate remote or distributed teams. These virtual courses provide flexibility for employees to access training at their convenience while ensuring consistent and standardised content.
Can employees request additional or specialised safety training if needed?
Yes, employees are encouraged to communicate their specific training needs. Employers should be responsive to such requests and provide additional or specialised safety training as required to address unique job roles or concerns.