Professionals removing asbestos debris following catastrophic bushfires have been given the green light to fast track the cleanup process for affected communities.
SafeWork NSW's usual five-day notification period is being waived to help communities faced with the destruction of property, bushland and livestock caused by the recent fires.
"The risk of exposure to asbestos dust is heightened following bushfires, which is why we are urging residents to take care, and make sure qualified professionals are engaged to work with SafeWork NSW, " Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said.
"As firefighters and other emergency services workers assess the damage and residents begin to repair or rebuild, we need to prevent exposure to further dangers."
SafeWork NSW recommends the following measures during the cleanup of fire-damaged buildings 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 carrying out demolition of residential premises must ensure all asbestos that is likely to be disturbed is identified and safely removed.
- Use only a qualified asbestos removalist licensed by SafeWork to ensure asbestos is safely and correctly removed.
- Fire damaged asbestos materials can only be cleaned up by holders of a Class A asbestos removal license.
Licensed asbestos removalists can be found at safework.nsw.gov.au
All fire damaged asbestos material to be removed needs to be notified to SafeWork by the removalist.
The five-day notification time frame will be waived for premises affected by fire.
For more information, contact 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378). If you have been advised that your property has asbestos or are concerned that it might, please call the Public Works Advisory Hotline on 1800 88 55 39.