Tradie 20 Point Safety Check

For Tradies Working On Residential Properties

  1. 1 in 3 Australian homes contain asbestos including brick, weatherboard, fibro, clad homes and apartments.
  2. Asbestos was widely used before 1990 in various building materials so:
    1. If the dwelling was built or renovated prior to 1987 it is ‘highly likely’ that it contains products incorporating asbestos.
    2. If the dwelling was built or renovated between 1987 and 1990 it is ‘likely’ that it may contain some asbestos-containing materials.
    3. However, if the dwelling was built or renovated after 1990 it is ‘unlikely’ that asbestos-containing materials will be present.
  3. Disturbing asbestos materials during renovations, maintenance or demolition puts the health of Tradies, families and bystanders at risk, including children.
  4. Dealing with asbestos is important and serious, but it’s not overwhelming – IT IS MANAGEABLE!
  5. If sealed, in good, stable condition and left undisturbed, asbestos materials are unlikely to release dangerous fibres and pose a health risk and don’t need to be removed if they are in good condition.
  6. Before commencing work, Tradies should conduct a A Residential Asbestos Checklist  using the Tradesperson’s Guide to Asbestos Containing Materials in Domestic Properties. It provides instructions on conducting a visual inspection of residential properties to help Tradies identify asbestos-containing materials to manage the job safely.
  7. Only qualified tradespeople with asbestos awareness training can work on materials identified as asbestos.
  8. Tradies should undergo Asbestos Awareness and Management Training to increase their knowledge of asbestos-containing materials and to learn how to manage it safely! Visit your Government regulator website for links to Registered Training Organisations in your State or Territory.
  9. Assume asbestos materials are present when renovating or working in and around residential properties and take every precaution.
  10. A formal inspection and sample testing conducted by a licenced asbestos assessor or occupational hygenist is the only way to be sure if asbestos is present.
  11. There are two types of asbestos building materials: “non-friable” and “friable”.
    1. Non-Friable Asbestos is any material (other than friable asbestos) that contains asbestos. Non-friable asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.
      1. Products containing non-friable asbestos can be found anywhere! Common uses in residential buildings include: asbestos cement (AC) sheeting (fibro) which may be flat or corrugated that was used internally and externally as roofing, fencing, wall and floor coverings, for water drainage and guttering, flue pipes and in wet or high temperature areas.
    2. Friable Asbestos is any material containing asbestos in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.
      1. Friable asbestos was mainly used in industrial applications but non-friable asbestos can become friable if damaged, unsealed and exposed to weather.
      2. ONLY Class A Licenced Asbestos Removalists can remove friable asbestos.
  12. All friable asbestos must be removed by a Class A Licenced Asbestos Removalist.
  13. Loose-fill (Mr Fluffy) asbestos insulation was installed in ceilings in some homes in NSW and the ACT between 1968 and 1979. It was made of crushed, loose (friable) asbestos and then pumped (and possibly spread) into the ceiling space as insulation. If disturbed it could migrate to wall cavities and sub-floor areas. However the risk of exposure to asbestos in buildings containing loose-fill asbestos is likely to be very low if the asbestos is undisturbed and sealed off.
    1. If you are working in NSW or the ACT, NEVER enter ceiling or sub-floor space before contacting Council to see if the property is located in an area affected by Mr Fluffy.
    2. Contact Council, NSW Fair Trading or the ACT Government to check if a property might be located in an affected Council region before entering ceiling or sub-floor space!
  14. NEVER use high pressure water spray or compressed air on asbestos materials. It is prohibited as they can cause asbestos to become friable.
  15. NEVER use power tools, equipment or any other implement on asbestos materials that may generate dust and release fibres UNLESS you’ve undergone Asbestos Awareness Training.
    1. Power tools include drills, angle grinders, circular saws and sanders.
    2. Other implements that may loosen fibres include brooms.
  16. ALWAYS keep a Personal Protective Equipment Kit (PPE) on hand as part of your tool kit should you come across asbestos in the workplace. A list of items that make up a PPE Kit can be found in T2: A Tradie’s Guide To Safe Practices In Managing Asbestos In Residential Properties. More information on safe asbestos management practices can be found on our Asbestos Fact Sheets page and on the Tradies Working With Asbestos FAQs page.
  17. There are legal requirements regarding asbestos management, its removal and disposal which can vary from state to state. Be sure to check with Council or the relevant State or Territory Government for legal requirements.
    1. While some might follow the regulations and safety requirements to remove small amounts of asbestos, the safest way to manage its removal is to retain a licenced professional asbestos removalist equipped to protect those living and working on a residential property from the dangers of asbestos dust and fibres.
    2. The cost of professional removal by a licenced professional is comparable to most licenced tradesmen including electricians, plumbers and tilers.
    3. The cost of disposal at a lawful site is often included with the cost of removal by a licenced professional.
  18. If Tradies need to remove small amounts of asbestos, they must follow all safety precautions including:
    1. Refer to the and fact sheets T2: A Tradie’s Guide To Safe Practices In Managing Asbestos In Residential Properties and T3: A Tradesperson’s Guide to Asbestos Containing Materials in Domestic Properties and follow the simple instructions to manage asbestos safely;
    2. Wear PPE;
    3. Ensure dust is minimised; and,
    4. Asbestos is safely removed and legally disposed of as ASBESTOS WASTE in a lawful waste management sites.
  19. If asbestos is identified in residential properties, unless tradespeople have undergone asbestos awareness training to work safely with asbestos; Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it!  Don’t drop it!  Don’t sand it!  Don’t saw it!  Don’t scrape it!  Don’t scrub it!  Don’t dismantle it!  Don’t tip it!  Don’t waterblast it!  Don’t demolish it!  And whatever you do… Don’t dump it!”
  20. To learn what asbestos-containing products might look like and where they might be located in residential properties, visit our Asbestos Products Database that features photographs and lists multiple products and locations.

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