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OHS Law Reforms and Asbestos. Work Health & Safety Act 2011 ‘ WHS ’. New nationally harmonised Act Effective from 1 st January 2012 Replaces Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000 & Occupational Health & Safety Regulation 2001 Includes specific obligations to manage and control asbestos.

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OHS Law Reforms and Asbestos


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work health safety act 2011 whs
Work Health & Safety Act 2011‘WHS’
  • New nationally harmonised Act
  • Effective from 1st January 2012
  • Replaces Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000 & Occupational Health & Safety Regulation 2001
  • Includes specific obligations to manage and control asbestos
asbestos background
Asbestos Background
  • Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre widely used in the construction industry during the 1950s, 60s and 70’s.
  • In Australia, the use of asbestos rapidly declined by the end of the 1980’s
  • National ban on the importation and use of chrysotile asbestos from 31st December 2003.
  • Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)
asbestos register
Asbestos Register

Requirements of the WHS include:

  • Identification of asbestos (including analysis)
  • Creation and review of an Asbestos Register
  • Creation and review of an Asbestos Management Plan
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Provisions dealing with refurbishment of structures or plant.

Reviewed at least once every five years

asbestos register1
Asbestos Register
  • Must be prepared, maintained, reviewed and kept at the workplace.
  • Records any asbestos or ACM that has been identified or is likely to be present including date identified, location, type and condition of asbestos
  • OR states that no asbestos or ACM is identified
asbestos register2
Asbestos Register

Must be readily available to:

  • Workers - copy of register should be issued with works order
  • ‘Other persons’ – copy of register posted on notice board at building
  • Strata Roll – original held with controller of building

Copy must be provided to any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) carrying out demolition or refurbishment at a workplace prior to commencement of work.

exemption
Exemption
  • Buildings built (not registered) after 31st December 2003 (trigger is date of occupation certificate)

2. Where the common property is used only for residential purposes (short term rentals (Accom, etc) deemed commercial)

exemption1
Exemption

3. The Scheme has not engaged a ‘worker’ as an employee.

Under Workcover Authority of NSW the definition of a ‘worker’ includes any ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) that engages an:

  • Employee
  • Trainee
  • Volunteer
  • Outworker
  • Apprentice
  • Work experience student
  • Contractor or sub contractor
  • Employees of a contractor or sub contractor
  • Employee of a labour hire company assigned to work for a PCBU.
exemption2
Exemption
  • PCBU – Under Workcover Authority of NSW the definition of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ includes an Owners Corporation.

The above commentary would render the Owners Corporation or Association residential exemption for asbestos unavailable.

obligations
Obligations
  • Is an Owners Corporation common property used only for residential purposes deemed a workplace? YES
  • Should Common Property in a commercial Strata Plan built prior to 31 Dec ’03 be deemed a workplace? YES
  • Working from Home – Workplace
  • Contractors - Workplace
  • Mixed residential, commercial & tourism are deemed a workplace.
  • Short & Long Term Rentals – Workplace
additional information
Additional Information
  • 18 month transition to implement asbestos requirements (by 30th June 2013)
  • Failure to comply will attract fines of up to $60,000 or 6 years imprisonment
  • ‘Competent person’ means a person who has acquired, through training, qualification or experience, the knowledge and skills to carry out the task (Code of Practice – How to Manage & Control Asbestos in the Workplace)