Asbestos is a hazardous material that poses a risk to health if the fibres become airborne and are subsequently inhaled by people. The risk of this type of exposure to asbestos fibres is Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. These diseases generally have a long latency period and it can be decades between exposure and any effect.
Asbestos containing materials (ACM) were widely used in the construction industry from the 1950’s into the 1980’s. Although asbestos was not completely banned until 2003, it is generally accepted that buildings completed after 1989 are probably asbestos free and after 2004 a building can be considered asbestos free.
The Shire has an obligation to identify and manage ACM in all buildings to meet the Occupational Health and Safety requirements (OSH Regulations 5.43). The Shire of Broome has created an Asbestos Register to meet this requirement and is included at the link below.
The Shire will work towards the removal of all known or suspected ACM from Shire owned buildings in the long term, through our Asset Management Capital Works Renewal Program. This objective is in line with State government policy, which also aims to have all “buildings occupied or controlled by government agencies to be free of asbestos containing materials (ACM)” (Asbestos Management - Information Guide for Agencies);
Whilst working towards this target, the Shire has a duty of care to identify and manage existing ACM in all buildings to meet the Occupational Health and Safety requirements and the Code of Practice for the Management and Control of Asbestos in Workplaces [NOHSC:2018 (2005)]. As the highest priority is for all staff, occupiers, contractors and visitors to Shire buildings are safe from the hazardous effects of airborne ACM fibres.
ACM in sound condition, left undisturbed, presents negligible risk to building occupants and the general community. Therefore removal of asbestos may not be immediately required. However, if demolition, partial demolition, renovation or refurbishment work is planned or for any other reason the ACM is likely to be disturbed the immediate health risks shall require the prior removal of the ACM. Any remaining ACM shall be regularly inspected as part of Building condition or Building Maintenance inspections by a qualified officer or consultant and will remain on the asbestos register.