The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Act) and Work
Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Qld) (Regulations) specify how
asbestos is to be managed in workplaces.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO?
If you manage or control a workplace, you must engage an
appropriately qualified person (e.g. licensed asbestos assessors or
asbestos removal supervisors) to audit your workplace and identify
any asbestos or asbestos containing material
It is not necessary to conduct an audit if you have reasonable
grounds to believe that asbestos is not present. These may
your workplace was constructed after 31 December 2003; or
your workplace was constructed before that time, but is made
(including the roof) entirely of metal, brick or concrete and has
no internal walls that are made of fibro, gyprock or similar
If there are areas of your workplace that are inaccessible (e.g.
air conditioning ducts) and are likely to contain asbestos or ACM,
you must assume that asbestos is present.
You must also assume asbestos is present if the assessor is
unable to identify material as asbestos or ACM, but reasonably
believes it to be so.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO AFTER THE AUDIT?
If asbestos or ACM is found, you must use signs or labels or
another clear way of identifying its location. You must also
prepare and maintain an asbestos register and an asbestos
WHEN DO YOU NEED AN ASBESTOS REGISTER?
You do not need to keep an up-to-date asbestos register if:
your workplace was constructed after 31 December 2003;
no asbestos was identified in the audit; and
no asbestos is likely to be present in your workplace from time
Unless the above circumstances apply, you must keep an
up-to-date asbestos register.
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO REVIEW YOUR ASBESTOS REGISTER?
You need to review your asbestos register and revise it, if
your asbestos management plan is reviewed (see below);
further asbestos or ACM is identified at your workplace;
asbestos is removed from, disturbed, sealed or enclosed at your
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO REVIEW YOUR ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT PLAN?
Your asbestos management plan needs to be reviewed, and revised
if necessary, when:
you review your asbestos register or a control measure (i.e. a
measure which is used to minimise a risk to health and
asbestos is removed from, or disturbed, sealed or enclosed at
the plan is no longer adequate for managing asbestos or ACM at
a health and safety representative requests a review when one
of the above circumstances may affect the health and safety of a
member of the workgroup and you have not adequately reviewed the
at least once every 5 years.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR WORKPLACES WITH NATURALLY
The requirements to maintain an asbestos register and asbestos
management plan apply in the same way to workplaces with
"naturally occurring asbestos" (ie the natural occurrence
of asbestos in geological deposits), except that the asbestos
management plan needs to be reviewed and revised if the plan is no
longer adequate for managing the asbestos. This requirement will be
effective from 1 January 2014.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO IF YOU INTEND TO DEMOLISH OR REFURBISH
If your workplace was built prior to 31 December 2003, before
you demolish or refurbish your workplace, you must:
ensure that you review and revise the asbestos register;
give a copy of the revised register to the contractor
performing the demolition or refurbishment works.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IF YOU ARE SELLING OR LEASING A
When selling, leasing or transferring management of a workplace
with asbestos or ACM, you need to ensure that a copy of the
asbestos register is given to the purchaser, tenant or incoming
Failing to give the purchaser or tenant a copy of the asbestos
register will be a breach of the Act attracting a maximum penalty
of $36,000, but will not invalidate the sale contract or lease. As
these requirements are not standard conditions, special conditions
requiring compliance with the Act and Regulations need to be
drafted into your contract of sale or lease.
CAN DIRECTORS OF COMPANIES BE PENALISED?
Under the Act, directors can be personally liable for breaches
of the Act.
Directors and officers are also required to exercise due
diligence in complying with obligations under the Act. For example,
this requires taking reasonable steps to acquire and keep
up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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