Have you had a Hazmat inspection?

Have you had a Hazmat inspection?

Legislation obligates controllers of premises to undertake inspection of their premises to assess whether there is a presence of hazardous materials and, if there is, to develop a risk-based management plan.

Therefore, in June 2010 Uniting Resources (on behalf of the relevant Property Trusts) engaged Noel Arnold & Associates (NAA) to conduct property inspections aimed at identifying hazardous materials relating to all property (built before 2002) within the bounds of the Synod of New South Wales and ACT and owned by the Property Trusts.

This initiative not only enables the Uniting Church to meet its legal obligations as controllers of premises, but is also consistent with its commitment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees, congregation members, volunteers, occupants, contractors and other members of the community.

Work on the project also aims to enable:

  • Provision of an Asbestos Register for each workplace to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and others who might access the site, including contractors, volunteers and other members of the community;
  • Compliance with relevant state/territory legislation; in particular the New South Wales Occupational Health & Safety Regulation 2001 and the ACT Work Safety Regulation 2009.

This project involves approximately 500 locations and therefore detailed scheduling of a project of this size is critical. At all times, Uniting Resources has been mindful of important key considerations which include: avoidance of delays and any unnecessary costs, as well as minimising inconvenience to congregations.

Representatives of church council can greatly assist in this process by showing the representative of NAA through each church premise.

Prior to an inspection, a representative of NAA will be in contact with congregations to confirm a convenient date and time for their visit and, at the time of the inspection, the NAA representative will show proof of identity by presenting their photographic corporate ID and a copy of their letter of introduction.

Inspections normally take less than two hours depending on the size and complexity of the premises. During the inspection of premises, NAA are required to inspect all accessible areas, which include ceiling spaces, riser cupboards, plant rooms and roofs, where applicable. NAA are also required to take a number of photographs and where required, stickers will be placed on certain building elements.

If any church council has not yet received contact from NAA, could you please inform Uniting Resources by calling Property Services on 02 8267 4349.

When hazardous materials are detected

If “high priority” items are identified at the time of inspection, NAA will provide an “action plan” as a guide to church council.

Working with asbestos

Prior to the removal of any asbestos material, contact must first be made with Uniting Resources, who will provide approval for and of the process of removal.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 outlines the requirements for working with and removing asbestos.

Before work commences, a risk assessment must be conducted to prevent the disturbance of asbestos-containing material while work is carried out.

Water blasting of asbestos-containing material is prohibited.

Those contracted to carry out the work must be informed of the dangers involved and the precautions that should be taken.

A licence is required to remove friable (crumbles easily) asbestos-containing material or more than ten square metres of bonded asbestos.

A controller of premises must ensure that a register is kept, in which the type, condition and location of the asbestos is recorded.

See the Working with asbestos guide or call 13 10 50 for more information.

Asbestos licensing requirements

A bonded asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb more than ten square metres of bonded asbestos material such as fibro, corrugated cement sheeting and asbestos cement pipes. Licences cost $100 (GST free) and are valid for up to two years.

A friable asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb any amount of friable asbestos, such as sprayed limpet, asbestos cloth, millboard and pipe lagging. It also allows the removal of bonded asbestos. Licences cost $2,000 (GST free) and are valid for up to two years.

Obtain a quotation

Obtain quotations from NATTA-accredited contractors to remove and dispose of materials.

For a listing of licensed asbestos removal contractors in your area, refer to your local telephone directory or the Yellow Pages.

WorkCover NSW’s Asbestos & Demolition Unit can provide license checks on asbestos and demolition contractors. Contact the Asbestos and Demolition Unit on (02) 8260 5885. For areas out side of the CBD or for further information, contact WorkCover Assistance Service on 13 10 50.

WorkCover NSW has a guideline on asbestos removal. Contact the WorkCover Assistance Service on 13 10 50 for a copy or visit www.workcover.nsw.gov.au and download a copy of the publication.

Disposal

Contact your local council for a licensed disposal point in your area.

Waste Service NSW on (02) 9934 7000 will also be able to help if you live in the Sydney metropolitan area. Contact the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation Pollution Line on 13 15 55 for information on legally transporting and disposing of asbestos waste.

Useful links

Safe Work Australia www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Dust Diseases Board of NSW www.ddb.nsw.gov.au

Department of Environment and Climate Change www.environment.nsw.gov.au

Think Asbestos www.thinkasbestos.com.au

For further assistance contact Uniting Resources on (02) 8267 4349 or Noel Arnold on (02) 9889 1800.

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