SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification period to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from storm-damaged properties in north east NSW.
Property owners in the Ballina, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore and Tweed local government areas will have their assessments fast-tracked to ensure asbestos-containing material can be removed as quickly as possible.
SafeWork NSW executive director, Peter Dunphy, urged residents to seek information on the potential risks of being exposed to asbestos and how to manage it safely when cleaning up after a storm or flood.
“Flood-affected homes may contain asbestos materials which need to be safely managed and removed so that the health of the community is protected,” Dunphy said.
“As the State Emergency Service assesses the damage and residents begin to clean-up or repair properties, we want them to be aware of the dangers.
“Under usual circumstances, a five-day waiting period is required before asbestos removal work can commence to enable SafeWork to review the adequacy of safety systems and site arrangements.
“Given the significance of the natural disaster and the need to urgently remove material that may affect the health of the community, we have prioritised these assessments and waived the five-day asbestos removal work notification timeframe.
“We hope this decision will help people to get their lives back to normal sooner.”
SafeWork NSW recommends the following measures during the clean-up of storm-damaged properties that contain asbestos:
- Avoid disturbing asbestos materials and keep any asbestos debris wet until it can be safely removed.
- Be aware of asbestos materials in your surroundings. A person conducting a business or undertaking demolition of residential premises must ensure that all asbestos that this likely to be disturbed by the demolition is identified and safely removed.
- Use only qualified asbestos removalists licensed by SafeWork to ensure asbestos is safely and properly removed.
- Licensed asbestos removalists can be found at www.safework.nsw.gov.au
- All storm-damaged asbestos-containing material that needs to be removed must be notified to SafeWork by the licensed removalist.