Asbestos registers are an important part of any asbestos management plan, as they contain all the information regarding asbestos containing materials in your building or workplace. It is a legal requirement in Australia to maintain an asbestos register for any building that was constructed before 31 December 2003 must have an asbestos register, per the Work Health and Safety Act.
Registers are an important tool for preventing exposure to asbestos fibres, as they help building owners, employers, workers and contractors identify and manage the risks associated with asbestos exposure. But, in order for asbestos registers to be effective, you need to know what information to put.
In this article, we will discuss all important asbestos register information, from;
- Why you need one
- What should be included in it
- Who can create it
- How often it should be reviewed
- The consequences of not having one
Why do you need an asbestos register?
You need an asbestos register for several reasons, including:
- As we previously mentioned, it is a legal requirement in Australia to maintain an asbestos register for any building constructed before 31 December 2003 or where ACMs are present. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties and legal liability.
- The asbestos register helps to identify the location of ACMs in a building or workplace. This information is important for anyone who may disturb or work with the materials, such as contractors, maintenance workers or demolition crews.
- The register helps to assess the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, which can cause serious respiratory diseases. By identifying the location, type and condition of ACMs, risk assessments can be conducted and appropriate control measures implemented to minimise the risk of exposure.
- The register provides a record of the presence and condition of ACMs, which is important for managing the materials. This includes implementing control measures to prevent disturbance of the ACMs, such as encapsulation or removal, and ensuring that any work that is carried out on the building or workplace is done safely.
- The register is an important communication tool, providing information to workers, contractors, and other stakeholders about the presence of asbestos and how to work safely in areas where ACMs are present.
What should be included in an asbestos register?
An asbestos register should include the following information:
Building or workplace information
The name and address of the building or workplace, the date of construction, and any relevant floor plans or drawings.
Identification of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs)
A comprehensive list of all ACMs present in the building or workplace, including their location, type, condition, and quantity. This should include all areas of the building or workplace, such as walls, floors, ceilings, pipes, and equipment.
Risk assessment information
Information about the potential risks associated with the ACMs, including the likelihood of disturbance, the potential for airborne fibres, and the potential for exposure.
Maintenance and monitoring information
Details of any maintenance or monitoring activities that have been carried out on the ACMs, including any repairs, encapsulation, or removal.
A plan for managing the ACMs, including any control measures that have been implemented to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. This should include details of any training, personal protective equipment (PPE), and safe work practices that are required when working with or near ACMs.
Asbestos removal information
Information about any asbestos removal or closing off work that has been carried out on the ACMs, including the date, method of removal, and disposal details.
Review and update information
Details of when the asbestos register was last reviewed and updated, and the name of the person responsible for maintaining the register.
All of this information needs to be regularly updated and kept up to date, so that it can be readily available when it is needed for reference purposes.
Who can create an asbestos register?
An asbestos register should be created by a competent person who has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to identify ACMs.
This may include the following professionals;
- Asbestos consultants who are trained and qualified to carry out asbestos surveys and inspections, and to create asbestos registers.
- Licensed asbestos assessors who have been trained and licensed to carry out inspections and assessments of ACMs.
- Health and safety professionals who have expertise in managing workplace health and safety issues, including asbestos management.
- Building surveyors or engineers who may be involved in the design or construction of buildings and may have knowledge of the presence of ACMs.
It is the responsibility of building owners or employers to keep an up-to-date asbestos register, per the Work Health and Safety Act, including the location and type of asbestos-containing material on their premises.
How often should an asbestos register be reviewed?
The frequency of reviewing an asbestos register depends on several factors, including;
- the age of the building
- the condition of the ACMs
- the frequency of any changes or renovations to the building
In general, it is recommended that the asbestos register be reviewed and updated at least once a year. This will ensure that any changes or updates to the building or workplace are reflected in the document and that the register remains up-to-date.
However, if there are any changes or renovations to the building, such as the installation of new equipment or the removal of walls, the asbestos register should be reviewed immediately to ensure that any new ACMs or changes to existing ACMs are identified and managed appropriately.
Additionally, if the condition of any ACMs deteriorates or there is damage to the materials, the asbestos register should be reviewed immediately to assess the potential risks and implement any necessary control measures.
From a legal standpoint (in Australia), a person with management or control of a workplace where an asbestos register is kept must ensure that the register is reviewed and, as necessary, revised under the following conditions;
- The asbestos management plan is reviewed under clause 430
- Further asbestos or ACM is identified at the workplace
- Asbestos is removed from, or disturbed, sealed or enclosed at, the workplace
What are the consequences of not having an asbestos register?
The consequences of not having an asbestos register can be significant and can include legal, financial, and health risks.
The Work Health and Safety Act (in Australia) requires employers and self-employed persons to keep an up-to-date asbestos register, including the location and type of asbestos-containing material on their premises.
Failure to comply means employers can be prosecuted and face significant penalties. Penalties include fines of up to $126,000 for an individual and $630,000 for a corporation, or imprisonment of up to five years.
Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause serious respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Without an asbestos register, there is a risk that workers or occupants of the building may be exposed to asbestos fibres, potentially leading to long-term health effects.
Failure to have an asbestos register and properly manage ACMs can damage the reputation of a building owner or employer. This can lead to negative publicity and harm the trust and confidence of employees, customers, and the public.
How can Octfolio software help me update and maintain my asbestos registers?
Octfolio is an asbestos software solution that helps you organise all of the information regarding your ACM assets, and store it in asbestos registers that are easy to access and update. The information is stored securely, but it is also accessible for all important stakeholders. This guarantees both the safety of your building’s occupants as well as the regulatory compliance of your business.
Octfolio, gives you every function required to successfully handle all aspects of ACM management, such as;