K2 Consulting Group has assisted over 400 clients in the preparation of detailed asbestos registers for high-rise residential, commercial and industrial buildings. We receive enquiries about what, why and when – in relation to asbestos registers and hence the below content has been created to assist PCBUs in understanding their responsibilities when dealing with asbestos.
What is an asbestos register?
An asbestos register is a document that records any asbestos that has been identified or assumed in the workplace. The asbestos register contains the locations of identified or presumed asbestos and its risk level and recommendations for the management of asbestos.
The asbestos register will record the following information including but not limited to:
• Any asbestos identified or assumed on the premises;
• Record the location, type and condition of asbestos;
• Risk level and any immediate action required;
• Recommendations to manage asbestos risk.
When is an asbestos register required?
An asbestos register is required in the workplace (a building) that is constructed before 31st December 2003 and if asbestos is identified in the workplace. An asbestos survey will be undertaken to determine the presence or absence of asbestos to assist in the creation of the asbestos register.
Asbestos registers are generally created for compliance purposes with the NSW SafeWork code of practices and NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017. However, it is recommended that an asbestos survey is undertaken before the demolition or refurbishment of buildings built before 31st December 2003. By having a detailed survey undertaken, the Principal contractor can minimise the risks from asbestos during the refurbishment or demolition project.
Who is responsible to maintain the asbestos register?
The person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is responsible to have an asbestos register created and if asbestos is identified or presumed, having the asbestos register maintained. The asbestos register should be reviewed and maintained every 5 years or if there are any changes to the asbestos scenario in the building such as asbestos removal or asbestos management that can potentially change the risk level.
How much does it cost to create an asbestos register?
The cost to create an asbestos register may vary based on the area of the building and the number of samples required to be tested while completing the survey. If you choose a consultant to undertake an asbestos register purely for a cheaper price, the quality of the survey can be compromised.
The asbestos register can be undertaken at a cheaper cost by minimising the number of samples during the survey, however, the report will say ‘presumed’ in most places which do not help the client in understanding the locations of asbestos and further management. If a contractor is engaged by the PCBU and happens to encounter asbestos, additional testing will be required at that point if the register does not carry that information. So it is recommended that a detailed survey is undertaken by an experienced and skilled asbestos consultant and a reasonable amount of time be spent to have a detailed and comprehensive asbestos register created in the first place.
Why is it important to create an asbestos register?
Asbestos registers are documents that are required to be created to meet the NSW SafeWork requirements as per Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 Clause 425 (asbestos register).
It is the responsibility of a PCBU to have the asbestos register created and maintained. If a PCBU engages a contractor and he exposes himself to asbestos and no asbestos register is in place, the PCBU can be held liable for the damages.
What if asbestos is identified during the survey?
If asbestos is identified during the survey, the asbestos consultant will collect representative samples and analyse the samples in a NATA-accredited laboratory. Asbestos testing will identify the type of asbestos in the buildings.
Recommendations to manage asbestos will be based on the risk level and the nearby receptors and will be undertaken in accordance with “the code of practice How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace”
Do I need an asbestos management plan?
If asbestos is detected in the buildings during the survey, an asbestos management plan is recommended to be created. The asbestos management plan will identify the risk levels and will record the necessary management strategies to manage health risks related to asbestos specifically in the workplace. The asbestos management plan will identify the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders involved in the process and assist the PCBU and the contractors in the safe management of asbestos risks on the premises.
Consultants at K2 Consulting Group are highly trained and possess over 10 years of experience in asbestos testing, and asbestos surveys and provide quality advice on the management of asbestos in the workplace. Our asbestos registers will provide a detailed and accurate location of asbestos-containing materials on the premises, its risk assessment and recommendations.