Mining of Asbestos in Australia
Throughout Australia asbestos mining started in the early 1930s and continued on until the 1960s. NSW was the first state in Australia mining raw asbestos, producing predominantly chrysotile asbestos; however the largest asbestos mines were in Western Australia (Wittenoom, Yampire Gorges and Pilbara region) mining mainly crocidolite asbestos.
Usage of Asbestos in Australia
In Australia asbestos was extensively used from the 1950s and then it was prohibited in 2003. In the 1950s more than 50 % of Australian houses used Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). Throughout most of Australia asbestos was used because of the fibres heat resistance and fire proofing properties. It was used in construction material (fibre cement sheeting, vinyl and polymer tiling and sheet along with mastic and sealants), insulating material (fire doors, insulating bats and insulating boards), air conditioning, plant equipment (autoclaves and gaskets) and in automotives.
Legislation of Asbestos in Australia
Under the NOHSC Code of Practice in Australia asbestos, was finally banned within Australia during December 2003. A number of circumstances existed in which there were exemptions in place until the month of December in the year 2007. However the ban of asbestos in Australia does not apply to the following:
- Removal and disposal of asbestos
- In situ products
- Bona fide research and/or analysis
- As an item of display in museums
- Chrysotile asbestos that may be struck during non asbestos mining
Management of Asbestos in Australia
Asbestos can be managed within Australia by following the items below.
- Identifying asbestos containing material – this is done in an asbestos survey or inspection where a competent person identifies all ACM within a property within areas that may be accessible, noting the location and condition of the Asbestos Containing Material.
- The potential health risk of the asbestos containing material is assessed.
- Employ measures that will control, prevent or eliminate the risk- this involves regular inspections of the ACM or its removal depending on the condition.
- Ensure that there is an asbestos register so that the location of all identified material, the material condition and any controls implemented.
- Notify residents/employees – all residents/ employees must be notified about any ACM in the premises.
If further information on Asbestos in Australia is required please contact our Sydney office listed below.
Phone – 02 9621 3706
Unit 4, 40 Bessemer Street
Blacktown NSW 2148