News Article

latest news in employment law

Does your building contain asbestos?

Published 08 Aug 2017

WorkSafe NZ identifies asbestos exposure as the leading cause of death from workplace related disease. In line with their plan to reduce workplace related health risks the new asbestos regulations come into effect April 4th 2018.
One of the important requirements under the new Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 mean if you own or occupy a building which contains asbestos you must have a management plan by that date.

Like any risk present in a workplace it must be identified, reviewed and a plan made regarding it's control or removal.

Buildings, both commercial and residential, constructed or altered between 1940 and 2000 can often contain asbestos or Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), buildings post 2000 less likely.

Businesses who suspect they may be operating in such premesis would be wise to get a survey conducted prior to next April.
If no asbestos or ACM is found, simply document the fact and file the report for future reference.
In the case asbestos or ACM is discovered a management plan needs to be created and implemented.

Plans should include the identification process, locations and positions of the offending material, actions and decisions to minimise or remove the risk.
Emergency procedure plans in case of an incident and any health monitoring if applicable.

Like all risk management plans they need to be kept up to date and reviewed if any changes are made.
If nothing changes they need to be reviewed every 5 years at a minimum.

If there is any suspicion that asbestos is in the air environment of the workplace or if asbestos removal occurs, air monitoring must be implemented. At the moment any 'competent person' can perform this task, but after April 4 2018 it must be a licenced asbestos inespector.

If you don't have a Health & Safety management system to organise your hazards, incident registers, risk reviews and emergency procedures, consider our online Health & Safety system to tick those boxes.