Asbestos safety session

(soft beat music) – Good morning everyone and welcome to anotherspecial session from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. It’s the Asbestos Safety session. And thanks for joiningus here this mor ning. It’s Asbestos Awareness Week and my name is Chris Bombolas,I’ll be your MC this morning. Today, we’re helping raiseawareness about asbestos as part of Asbestos Awareness Week which runs from the 23rdto the 29th of November. We’ll learn about thehidden dangers of asbestos, find out how to check for and identify asbestos-containing products and how to safely handle and remove them. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. I’d like to extend thatrespect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanderpeoples watching today.Now throughout our presentation, if you have questionsfor any of our speakers, and we have a number of them today, you can ask them at any time by typing your name andquestion via the chat box which is to the right of the livestream. We’ll ask those questionsduring the panel session at the end of our programme. If you want to changethe size of your screen, select the four small arrowsnext to the volume bar at the bottom of your screen. Now before we get intoour first guest speakers, safety advocates, Don and Julie Sager, let’s have a look at a short video. – [Narrator] Julie and DonSager love their children and would do anything to protect them. – At 18 months old, our toddler son was exposed to a grave danger. He wasn’t hit by a carwhile riding his bike. – [Don] He didn’t drownin our swimming pool. Something happened while wewere working on our home. – [Julie] What we did withthis inconspicuous piece of sandpaper killed our son.- We sanded asbestos walls whileour son was playing nearby. The warnings were on theinside of the panels. – It took 20 years. The asbestos got intohis lungs and killed him. At the young age of 25,our Adam passed away. – [Narrator] Decades afterbeing exposed to asbestos, Julie and Don witnessed their son’s death. Don’t endure what theirfamily went through. If you’re planning arenovation or home maintenance, know where asbestos could be found and take the proper precautionsbefore starting work. Visit It is an important and sobering message and it’s all about losinga son to mesothelioma. And Don and Julie Sagerare our safety advocates and joining us this morning. Good morning, Don and Julie. – Good morning.(indistinct) – Very well, thank you. Let’s start at the beginning. How has asbestos affected your family? We saw the short clip and there is a longer version of that. So tell us.- Yeah. It’s hard to explain. Everybody gathers around you, they wanna keep you up and alive.At the end of the day,it’s us, there’s just us. We have a beautiful daughter and we have beautifulgrandsons and son-in-law and our extended family are incredible. They go back to their lives. Our lives, where there’s still somebody missing from our picture, there’s somebody stillmissing from our dinner table, there’s someone missing from celebrations. And it’s through something that we did having no knowledge ofwhat was gonna happen. – Can you just explain forpeople watching here today how those circumstances unfolded? – We were really young, just newly married and starting our life.We had this new house,brand-new spanking house that it was finished on the outside for us and we had the work to do on the inside. And we were keen as andjust jumped straight in and got stuck into preparing the walls. And at that time we didn’t know there were asbestos-containing materials in and we were all capable of doing the work. We were just there andthe damage was done then. – All those years earlier? – Yes.- Yeah. – Adam was 18 months old. – Yup and innocently playing in the yard. – Just playing, he actuallywas playing in the house, sweeping up all thedust as we went through and did the work trying tosave a little bit of money thought we’d do the safe thing and keep him with us and savesome money in the meantime.- Then let’s fast forward and say, what are your thoughts and comments when I say to you, whenin doubt about something containing asbestos,always get it checked. – That would have savedour son’s life for sure. We wouldn’t have been in theposition that we are now. It’s out there now that weshould be finding out first and I agree. – Yep. – Stop think, what are we working with? Where could it be? And let’s find out firstand get the right people in.- On that note, what have you learnt about asbestos you wish you knew earlier? It’s a question you probablyget asked all the time. – That it’s non-discriminatory – Yep. – It doesn’t affect everybodythat comes in touch with it. There’s varying diseases or afflections that could be caused fromworking with asbestos. And you really don’t know where it is. And it’s lurking somewherein the tiniest little place, in the tiniest little cornerand it could affect your life. – Okay, let’s have the scenario that I’m in the position you guyswere all those years ago before your life was turned upside down.I’m keen, I’m young, I’m enthusiastic. I’ve got a house, it needs some work, I’m gonna do some renos. What advice do you give me as that young person looking back? – If you can work outhow old the house is, then there’s a good chancethat you can determine whether it’s going to containasbestos in parts of the home. Once you establish that then you can then get peoplein to test where it is. And I think I recommend that to everybody get your house tested. If you’ve got an old home, thetests aren’t that expensive it’s not gonna cost that much. And it sets you up in good stead so that when you get a tradesman in you can tell them where the asbestos is ’cause you’ll have a report that gives you that good evidence.- And everybody says, but it cost you $60 or it costs you $80. I can’t put a price onlosing my son’s life. And I just don’t think that, like you wouldn’t not putyour child in a seatbelt if you’re driving around the corner, so why would you not get your house tested to make sure that whereyou’re doing the work or where you’re raisingyour family is safe. – And speaking of safe,I’m doing my renovation, I break a wall. I’m not sure it’s asbestos but I’ve broken somethingand it doesn’t look great. What’s your advice. – Stop work straightaway and get someone in to lock down the site and get someone in to make sure what it is before you go on and continue working.It’s better to be safe because not only are youputting yourself at risk you’re putting anyone elsethat comes into that room. – And I know you guys are safety advocates for the Queenslandgovernment at the moment and doing a great job although it’s been alittle testy this year because of COVID. But basically you wanna getmessages of safety out there to prevent this happening to someone else of what happened to you.- Correct, COVID has beenprobably a great time to do that renovation becauseBunnings has stayed open or the local hardwarestore around has stayed open. So you’ve able to buy thegear to fix up that wall or to fix up that lino. So you’ve had the opportunity. You can still call thoseguys out to get it tested. You can still go call theguys to do the removals so you can get on with that project. And I thoroughly suggestthat that’s the way you go. Don’t do it yourself, get the experts in. They know what they’redoing, they’ll do it safely and you can protect your family.- I think that’s theperfect way to wind up our discussion early on. If you do have a questionfor Don and Julie, please ask it via the appropriatearea through the chat box and we’ll get to questions atthe end of our presentation. Thanks guys, if you can take a seat and I’m sure there’ll be some questions at the end of our session.All right, thank you. Well, time now to change tact and let’s get in anexpert regarding asbestos. And it’s my pleasure tointroduce Stephen Dutka Principal Advisor Asbestos from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. And Stephen is going to talk about common uses and locations of asbestos. Good morning Stephen. – Can you hear me? – Yeah. – All right, good morning. Thanks Chris for those kind words I want to go through commonuses and locations of asbestos and I’m gonna start offwith the slide presentation.So the origins of asbestos, it’s a naturally occurring mineral. It took millions of years to develop from water and mineral silicatestrapped in rock fishes. And from that rock formationtypes, you had two groups. One amphibole and theother one the serpentine. In the amphibole group, you have crocidolite blue and Amosite and then in the other group serpentine, you had chrysolite whitewhich makes up about 95% of asbestos types used in Australia. In the next slide, I’m going to talk about the properties of asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurringmineral, easily acquired. It also is very versatile in its uses and has great flexibility,tensile strength, ability to insulate from heat, non-conductive toelectricity, chemically inert and it was affordable to the industry. During the phase out, asbestos was used in construction products and was phased out in the mid 1990s.The use of all forms ofasbestos was banned nationally from the31st of December, 2003. You’ll see that there’s a little sticker on the right-hand side of the slide. That sticker is actually what was put on the back of the sheet. Assuming asbestos is present, if you’ve got a buildingthat was built before the mid 1980s, it is likely to have asbestos containing materials ACMs. If it was built betweenthe mid 1980s and 1990, it is likely to have asbestoscontaining materials.After 1990, it is unlikely to have asbestos containing materials. The criteria for assuming asbestos. We look at the age of the building, the era of the renovation activity. This is when the homes werebuilt in the early stages and renovated in the 1970s and 80s. We look at the common uses of products. We look at also the photo gallery which has about 79 photos,which actually help you look at different types ofasbestos and identify them.We look at the manufacturer’s labels as mentioned in the previous slide. We look and feel of the product. We look at the dimpleeffect, the protruding nails. The colour strip types,there could be either timber, moulding, it couldbe plastic door knobs, it could also be asbestoscontaining cover strips too. They were made in moulds as well too. In the next slide, we’regonna look at some photos of common asbestos containing materials in the domestic and industrial use of asbestos containing materials. In this slide, you’llsee single shingle tiles. Now these tiles were 305millimetres by 305 millimetres and four millimetres thick. And which is 12 inches by 12 inches in the old imperial scale. The next slide over the side on the right, you’ll see it’s a multi notch shingle sheet. They are actually made up of four shingles to make up a sheet, whichwas 1220 millimetres long by 610 millimetres in widthand four millimetres thick. The next one you’ll seesuper six roof sheeting in the Tuscan style. This is just to reflect likea Tuscan tile from Italy.These sheets were short lengths. There are 750 millimetres long. And this one here youcan see what was painted but that was after installation. It was never painted before installation. The next photo is asuper six roof sheeting. You can see it’s gone grey in colour. That’s the liken andasbestos just covering it. It’s what they call the likencoverings encapsulating it. It’s a mould. The next slide is thesuper six roof sheeting. You can actually seeseveral products in here. You’ve got barge capping,form guttering, downpipes external wall sheeting,formed cornice from asbestos and also little drops from the downpipes. The photo on the otherside is called cover line. It is actually a verticalsheeting and it’s used externally. The next one is a Hardy’s chamferboard. Now the chamferboard youcan see the 3-Form chamfers and then you’ll see thejoint up the top there that’s how the sheet was made.They’re 320 millimetres in width. Have a 4.5 millimetre thickness and ranged from 2.1 metreslong to three metres long. The next photo is shadow line vertical sheeting used externally. It is one metre and 55 wide in width. External sheeting in the next photo, external cornice, moulded cover strips. These are all made out of asbestos. And then you have theslide of soffit sheeting. This was done by the manufacturers. There’s also other types to sheeting where you see natural holes in it. That was actually done on site. LDB, internal sheeting. You got the system on the wall, you can see the greyish blue colour. Then you have the next slideyou’ll see LDB ceiling sheets. Now this was actually a, these sheets were a square edged finished but this one is done by hand beveling. They actually created a bevel edge. This would have been doneby the carpenter on site.The next one is perforated, LDB. Now this type of sheeting wasused to absorb the sound. And that’s why they put thereasoning, they put the holes in. There are 4.4 millimetreholes, perforated holes it was also manufactured as a flat sheet, had bevelled edges as well as square edges and also recess edges. This sheet was manufacturedwith less cement and made with more calciumsilicate, which has a plaster. And it has more asbestos fibres within the matrix thanthe standard cement sheet. A standard cement sheet hasabout 20% content of asbestos. This product as known in industry as light density board or LDB. LDB, which looks similarto asbestos cement shading is softer than plasterboard,can be easily bent in the hand and or dented by soft pressure. And it is softer than normalasbestos containing material because it is made with calcium silicate which was used to bond the product. The board itself contain upto as much as 70% content of asbestos within the matrix. James Hardy called theirproduct asbestos Luxe.And Mundelik another manufacturer, called the product Duralux. The next photo was taken from the inside of a ceiling cavity. And this is how JamesHardy labelled the product. For more information,please download a copy of the Asbestos Guidefor Minor Renovations. Thank you Chris. – Thanks Stephen, certainly eye opening in the number of areas andthe way it’s been used.So if you do have a question for Stephen, Stephen will stand by and rejoin us during our panel discussion at the end. All you have to do is typeyour name and question via the chat box to theright of your screen. And we’ll get to as many ofthose questions as we can. Alright, let’s move alongand change tact again. And let’s have a look at theimpact that asbestos can have on a self-employed business owner. And for that perspective, let’swelcome in Dustin Carroll, Principal Advisor, Asbestos Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Good morning Dustin. Got to unmute Dustin otherwiseit’s just talking lips. Here we go. – Yeah, is that better mate? Thanks Chris and thanksto Julia and Don also for your continued safety work and for that wise advice onhaving your homes tested.My name’s Dustin Carrolland I’m employed as a Principal Inspectorwithin Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Asbestos Unit. My job is to investigate incidents where asbestos removal has gone wrong. Up to 40% of complaints received by Workplace Health and SafetyQueensland involve asbestos. Unfortunately, a lot of those events are where the asbestoshas been removed unsafely, putting people at risk ofexposure to airborne asbestos. This case study centres on a family home in Southeast Queensland. This area started to rapidlydevelop around the 1960s.The builder in our case study appeared to be an experienced tradesmen with many happy customers. It was a sizeable contract. And while there was noasbestos removal work planned, a significant quantityof asbestos was removed. Different materials were removed from different sections of the home, including a large amount oflow density board or LDB. This resulted in asbestos dust and debris contaminating the home. During these renovations,the home was occupied by a family of four. As the regulator, we becomeaware of events such as this when people fail toidentify and remove asbestos before demolition or refurbishment.When removal works are conducted by unlicensed and unqualified workers. Where workers aren’t supervised and where people cut corners. Our case study involves unlicensed, unsafe and incompetent asbestos removal work. And it’s very unfortunate. I first attended a jobback in January, 2020. The mother and fatherwho lived in the house were scared and upset that theyand their two young children had been exposed to airborne asbestos. They recently become awarethat they had been living in a heavily contaminatedhome for almost a year and were advised to leavethe home immediately. After meeting with the motherwho was clearly distraught, another inspector and Iconducted our risk assessment and entered the home.As I entered the home, I sawevidence of a hasty retreat such as bowls of half eaten cereal and an amount of cash sittingon the dining room table. There were clothes andtoys on the lower floor consistent with the family home. And as I walked up thestairs to the first floor, I saw that it was mostlyunder refurbishment, except for the kitchen areastill being used by the family. Wall linings were missing from a hallway, bathroom and bedrooms.There were new wall liningsstalled in the hallway and I also saw a fairly large pile of waste materials in the master bedroom. Inquiries indicate that the homeowners had placed the project on hold due to circumstances with the builder and were pursuing alternative ways to complete the renovation. It wasn’t until 10 months later that the homeowners becameaware that the asbestos was. As you can imagine, this wasvery distressing and expensive for the family as they left with nothing but the clothes on theirback and had to find other accommodation forapproximately six months while Workplace Healthand Safety Queensland initiated legal proceedings regarding the remediation of the home. The low density board inthis house had been removed from wall and ceilingsheets in a staircase, the hallway and two bedrooms. It had also been drilled and damaged in the dining room and lounge area.There were differentasbestos containing materials removed from other sections of the home. The lower centre photo here shows a hole that was created through the internal and external cladding for air conditioning pipes. The LDB is badly damaged. To the left, we see thehallway of the home. We understand that ayoung worker was tasked with removing the nail headsand debris from the walls. As no one was aware thismaterial was asbestos the young worker very likely did so without wearing PPE or RPE.There was quite a bitof dust on the floor. So why was the sheetremoved in this manner? There seems to have been an assumption that the material was plasterboard. When it’s in good condition and painted, it’s difficult to distinguish between LDB and other types of sheeting. This stresses the pointthat identification must be conducted by a competent person. The product LDB was manufacturedfrom the 1950s to the 1970s as a flat sheet orperforated sheeting product typically used for acoustic applications. As LDB is soft or low density, it tends to tear when it’s broken. In this closeup image, we can see the furry or fibrous look of the product.As previously mentioned by Stephen Dutka, LDB is a very high-risk asbestos material because it can contain up to70% asbestos fibres by volume as opposed to asbestos cement sheeting which typically containsbetween five and 20% asbestos There are a few typical characteristics that can tell you thatyou’re looking at LDB. Such as, for example, theheads of the nails or clouds are often embedded orrecessed into the surface of LDB sheeting, as opposedto nail heads protruding on asbestos cement fibro. Another would be thata hand pressure press with a tip of a screwdriverwill dent the surface of LDB shading due to the softness or low density of the product. Another may be the noise it will produce. If you tap LDB shading witha coin or a key for example, LDB will produce a dull or dead sound due to the softness of the product. This is opposed to asbestos cement fibro sheeting which will produce asharp or clicking sound as it is hard and brittle.LDB tends to flex whenpressure is applied. LDB can be broken easily with hand pressure. As previously mentioned,the product will tear rather than snap once at breaking point. It can be difficult to remove nail heads and other fasteners from LDBwithout tearing or breaking the product into very small places. Back in our case study, therewas lots of visible dust, debris and torn jaggededges of LDB on the floor and still on the walls. To the right in this photo, we can see where the wallshave not been cleaned or denailed and where clumps of LDB asbestos are still around the nail heads.To consider that a worker would no doubt work with the claw of his hammer to knock those dags off the wall. With no PPE or RPE is just scaring. To the left, we can seebroken sheets of LDB in a pile in LDB. Dust and debris scatteredacross the floor. The law says, asbestos must be identified and removedbefore refurbishment. The law also says that asfar as reasonably practicable all asbestos and ACM at the workplace is identified by a competent person. A competent person is defined in schedule 19 of the regulation, as a person who hasacquired through training and qualification or experience, the knowledge and skillsto carry out the task.In the photo depicted on this slide, a father and son smashedasbestos cement fibro sheeting off the walls of anotherSoutheast Queensland home. As they attempted to remove almost 40 square metres of asbestos. The workers worked hardwithout wearing PPE or RPE. They were not wrapping the waste or lining the tray of their ute. They were a hazard to everyoneand most of all, themselves. The Work Health andSafety Regulation 2011, Section 485, requiredthat this removal work be done with minimal breakage. And by a B or A class,licenced removalist. We also see the risk ofexposure to airborne asbestos where workers are not supervised and where people cut corners. The photo on this slide depicts a job where workers were left unsupervised. The workers were keento get the job done fast by cutting corners and smashing sheets rather than removing the sheets whole. Our inspector also saw one of the workers sweeping the dust and debris with a broom. Unfortunately, on this jobthe workers forgot their hose. They actually knockedon the neighbor’s door and borrowed his hose. However, it was too shortto be of use to them.So they worked without water suppression. These workers were notproperly supervised. Given the correctsupervision and guidance, these lads would developinto skilled workers. However, at the level they’re at here they were a danger to everyoneand needed supervision. Back to our case study,the renovation contract between the builder and homewas financially very tight. There was no room for error or variations. A few typical constructionhiccups occurred as the works proceeded whichresults in a budget blow out. To compensate this thebuilder and the homeowner agreed that the homeownerwould do some labouring work for the builder on a coupleof the builder’s projects. This agreement now made the home owner one of the builder’s workers. And of course the builderhad a duty of care for his workers health and safety. They agreed as part of thehomeowner’s labouring tasks the homeowner wouldremove all wall linings from the upper level bedrooms.Therefore withoutidentification of materials and with zero training, the homeowner broke offall LDB wall linings from those rooms wearing anunrated nuisance dust mask. Most of the waste materialswere thrown out the window to the skip bin below. And this is depicted inthe photo on this slide. The residual dust anddebris in the bedroom was vacuumed up with anunrated trade vacuum. This worked out very expensivefor the builder also, whom we directed toengage a class A asbestos removalist to clean up. The cost of a client appwas approximately $20,000. This event fits the criteria in our robust asbestos regulator programme for comprehensive investigationby the asbestos unit. The asbestos unit are conducting the comprehensiveinvestigation into this event to determine if the builder should front court over the matter. When investigating an incident as such, we’ll gather the evidenceto inform appropriate enforcement action, whichcan include court action or on the spot fines. Well thank you Chris.- Thanks Dustin, very comprehensive. There are obligations and certainly duties on those working alongside asbestos and asbestos containing materials. You have helped us identify that and some of the enforcement issues and some of the duties thatfall on small business owners. Dustin, you can put your mic on mute now but remember to take it off mute when we get back to the panel session. And if you’d like to ask Dustin or any of our panel members a question don’t forget to typeyour name and question via the chat box to theright of your screen. Let’s move on to the next of our speakers. And I’d like to introduce Peter McGarry Director Asbestos WorkplaceHealth and Safety Queensland. And this is all abouthelping your business meet its responsibilitieswhen working with asbestos. Welcome and good morning Peter. – I thank you Chris andgood morning to everybody and thanks Dustin and Stephenfor your presentations. Dustin is much better at asbestos work than he is at using hismicrophone, but well done.And actually, I’m the Director of the Government Asbestos Unit and Dustin and Stephenand the rest of the team. I’ve got an excellent team. And we exist, unfortunately because those events that Dustin just described, they’re all too common. Only last night we were notified of a homeowner who’s put a grinder through an asbestos containing material. We’ll be responding to that later today. That dust that’s caused puts people at risk of exposure to asbestos. The government has an asbestos unit because we’re totally dedicated to preventing any mesothelioma. And we wanna stop what’shappened to Don and Julie’s son. And that’s what we’re tasked to do. Difficult task, butwe’re motivated to do it.Just gonna put my next slide up. All right, so the roleof the Asbestos Unit. Well our primary role isto actually stop poor work that’s occurring with asbestos. Evaluate the circumstances. We then step in and prescribehow the asbestos dust and debris is to be cleaned up. And we actually oversee how that dust and debris is remediated. We actually enforced the law. We investigate with a view to prosecution. We investigate with theview of the cancelling. A and B class licences. And I’ll say a bit moreabout that shortly. We have a balanced approach so we’re not all about the big stick. We actually put a lot of timeinto educating the community regarding asbestos risk management and that’s what we’re doinghere today in this webinar. So on what can you do to protect yourself from the risk of exposure to asbestos. So first thing to do is toknow where the asbestos is.The asbestos we say itcould be lurking anywhere. There were more than 3000products that were manufactured with asbestos over mainly last century. You’ll find it in alltypes of building materials particularly for anybuilding that was built or renovated before 1990 and in items of plantand equipment that were manufactured or imported before 2003. So we do have a very good website and I’ve got the address up there, Fairly simple one, if youcan remember the Lots of excellent photosand videos on there that help you to identifywhere asbestos is, show you how to actuallywork safely with asbestos. While heap of other information. If you want to find an A orB class licenced removalist you’ll find a list on that website.The next thing you can do is be clear about the roles and responsibilities. So you’re at the workplaceand you’ve got a team. You’ll have supervisorand you’ll have workers. The supervisors and workersall have very important roles. The supervisor inparticular very key role. Ensure compliance with the employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace. So the employer employsa supervisor to make sure that the safe workprocedures are followed, that there’s supervisionand instruction and training to the people who are going to do the work on the asbestos containing materials. The supervisor should inspect the site for the presence of asbestos. So before they start anew job particularly, they should use their knowledgeof identifying asbestos. They might’ve been onto our website that I just explainedon the previous slide.And having a look out for asbestos. Its not just on the first day, if you’re doing refurbishment work you may actually pull a wall away or lift up some floor covering and it could be asbestos underneath. So it’s ongoing diligence on inspection. Control the work by ensuringthat the safe work procedures and controls are used. There’s no point in having decided that you’re gonna do the work anduse certain work procedures and use certain personalprotective equipment, if you don’t actuallyactually implement them. And you need to guide andmentor young or new workers. Even some of the oldworkers need mentoring. I’m an older worker and sometimesI need a bit of guidance as to what I’m supposed to be doing. Okay now, workers have avery important role as well.So alert your supervisor and other workers the presence of asbestos orpossible asbestos being present. Okay, so it’s aboutempowerment and speaking up. If you think there’s asbestos there, you should and you havea right to speak up and say, well look, Iactually had a look at that really great government websitethat Peter told me about. And I saw a photo or I saw a video and I think that’s asbestos.So I don’t think weshould do any work on that until we actually have it tested. $20 to $40 to have apiece of material tested, not very much money for peace of mind that you haven’t beenexposed or your workers or your colleagues haven’tbeen exposed to asbestos. Then as a worker, you’re under the lead Work Health and Safety Legislation, you must actually follow the instructions, the reasonable instructionsof your supervisor and your employer and follow what’s in the safe work methods. And you must use all the controls, including the personalprotective equipment. The next thing you can do to protect your risk of exposure to asbestos, we recommend that nomatter how much asbestos that you’re going to remove, you engage a licenced asbestos removalist.So even for a small amount, it’s just safer to getthe professionals in and get them to remove the asbestos, clean it up, package itup and just take it away and get rid of it properly,safely and legally. But at the very least, thereis a legislative requirement that for certain quantitiesor types of asbestos, you must actually engage alicenced asbestos removalist. So if you’re removinggreater than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos, you must engage either a B or an A class licenced asbestos removalist. If you’re removing anyquantity of friable asbestos. So friable asbestos wouldit be a material that, not that I’m telling you to do this, but if hypothetically or mentally, if you were to grind pickthat piece of material up and it would turn to powderin your hand, that’s friable. No matter how much of thefriable you’re removing you must engage an A-classlicenced asbestos removalist.And if there’s more thanwhat we call minor quantities of asbestos dust and debris, then you need to engagea licenced removalist to clean that up. So some of those examples thatDustin gave in those photos that amount of dust anddebris is what we would call more than minor quantities. And you may have causedthe dust and debris but you have to get a licencedperson in to clean it up. And there’s some logicthere in the legislation. All right, so the nextthing we’d asked you to do is be aware of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a verynasty cancer of the lungs. There’s no cure for mesothelioma. Very low levels ofbreathing in asbestos fibres can cause so mesothelioma. So you might think, oh look,I’ll just take the risk today, I won’t wear my respirator.So I’ll be alright today. You don’t know what yourexposure is going to be tomorrow, the next day or the next week. And if you get lots oflow levels of exposure that cumulative exposure, places you at risk of mesothelioma. So you can’t predict the future. So each and every time you do any work with asbestos containing material, follow the safe work procedure, wear the personal protective equipment, particularly the respirator. There’s no way it’ll be right this one. Currently in Australia, this is tragic. On average, two people are newly diagnosed with mesothelioma every day. And these people areprobably just like you. They’re tradies, they’re homeowners, they’re performing work oncommon building materials that Stephen described,construction, renovations, doing tradie and DIY tasks onasbestos containing materials.All at risk of exposure to asbestos. But the good news isif you don’t breathe in asbestos fibres means you’re not at risk. So do your identification. If you identify it’s asbestos, if you’re doing removal, getthe licenced removalist in. If you’re having tostill do the work on it, then ensure you implementyour safe work procedures and that you’re wearing yourpersonal protective equipment. If you’re doing all that, your not making the fibres airborne, you’re not breathing them in, you’re not at risk of mesothelioma. Use the appropriate controls if working on the asbestoscontaining materials. Or better still, don’t work on the asbestos containing materialunless you have to do it. We say that the asbestoscontaining materials in a good condition and you don’t have todisturb it, then don’t. Be aware that you canbe prosecuted or fined. As I outlined before,one of the primary tasks of the Asbestos Unit iswhere we actually investigate some of these events. I’ve got a graph upthere just showing that over the last couple of years, some of our prosecution outcomes.I don’t sleep better becausewe’ve prosecuted someone or we’ve cancelled someone’s licence. But I do sleep better knowingthat the workers we employed are no longer being exposed because the employer wasnot following the law and doing the right thing. So if you don’t complywith the asbestos law, you’re likely to be fined or prosecuted. That’s just the reality. You might take the risk, nine times out of 10 you get away with it.But that one time out of 10, we’re gonna find out andit’s our role to prosecute. And the stats I’ve got uphere, they just relate to the outcomes from Asbestos Unit work. There’s only eight ofus in the Asbestos Unit. There’s a couple ofhundred inspectors within Workplace Health and SafetyQueensland across the State. And they are out there andthey’re likely to come across you if you’re doing the wrong thing. Have a look at our publications. There is a great publication. All our publications aregreat but this one here, is based as a guide for minor renovation. It’s available on our website and it contains the informationright from the start of identifying right through to doing work to actually how you can legallydispose of asbestos waste. Don’t use high pressure water on asbestos containing materials. If you water blast an asbestos roof, it puts asbestos debrisall over that property, the neighbouring propertiesand out onto the street. Unfortunately we see it. We respond to about a dozenof these events every year.The asbestos debris is like paper mashay it sticks to everything. It can be like a snow all over the grass. It’s putting people inthe neighbourhood at risk because those fibres caneasily become airborne. That’s some more information,that’s how you can engage with Workplace Healthand Safety Queensland. So thanks and I look forward to answering any questionsthat you might have. Back to you Chris. – Thanks Peter. There’s our Facebookdetails and as Peter said, I’m amazed at the number of people still doing the wrong thing and as a communicator and a media manager within Workplace Health and Safety, I see prosecutions comeacross our desk all the time. And it amazes me that peopleare still doing the wrong thing and trying to get away with it and endangering the livesof not only themselves, their workers, neighboursand people in the community. So we’ve got to get the message through, do the right thing, besensible about this. And that’s what we’re here for today. Peter is part of our mission.If you’ve got a question forany of our panel members, please do so via the chat box. Give us your name, your question, perhaps to whom you’d likethat question referred to and we’ll get to asmany of those as we can. Alright, let’s headinto our question session. And Don and Julie,Stephen, Dustin and Peter and I hope our two remote boys have got their microphones off mute. Just making sure you in particular Dustin, not that we’re singlingyou out at all today.But yes, time for questions. And the first one is from Omar. And the question is, is therea simple way to recognise an asbestos containing product. I.e, Hardy plank, oldfibro versus cement sheet. Stephen this might be you to kick us off. – Yeah, just have a look theguide and our photo gallery. We’ve got some Hardy plank. You can look at it like pictorially but the best way to do is graba small sample of it safely or have it organisedto be sampled to verify and get it analysed bya NATA accredited lab. It’s just even lookingat the product sometimes the fibres are so smallthat you can’t see it by the naked eye, it’sactually in the matrix. So my opinion would bethe best way to do it is have it analysed and then you’ll actuallyhave it in writing. – Thanks Peter, great advice. Stephen, I mean. Let’s move on to Jodiand this is a question about asbestos obviously. Does a class B licence apply to cumulative more than 10 square metresof asbestos removal? For example, companies conducting regular but unplanned reactivemaintenance on essential services such as water pipe bursts, where one job may beremoving under the set amount but over the course of theweek, month, year or whatever it adds up above that, Peter.- Yeah, look a good, good question. Look if you know for the project say you might be removingasbestos at a house or at a commercial site andyou know there’s gonna be greater than 10 square metres, then you have to engage alicenced asbestos removalist and you have to actually notify Workplace Health and SafetyQueensland as the regulator. Now we and the legislationacknowledges that you might come across accidentally some asbestos containing material that you didn’t know was there. You pulled out an old wallor picked up some floor. If there’s less than 10 square metres then you don’t have to engagea licenced asbestos removalist although we highly recommend that you do. Or if you find that youfound nine square metres and then a week later, youfind another 20 square metres that’s when you shouldstop and then engage a licenced asbestos removelist. And I will just add you can’t try and get round the legislation by removing nine square metres each day. Nine square metres Monday,nine square metres Tuesday, nine square metres Wednesday, because you intend to remove18 square metres or more.And so then you must engagea licenced removalist. – Okay well, I hope thathelps with that question. This one comes from Nick andit’s directed at you, Stephen. If I intended to renovatesay a bedroom and a bathroom, can I do the asbestosidentification process myself? And would I need to keep anyrecords of this procedure? – Right, with identification and you know the building wasbuilt between a certain time and age frame that you know that it is, you assume it is asbestos. And if you are a homeowner and there’s more than 10 square metres, you still need to have a licence or get somebody else a licence. You need to do some training for that because we you can’t allow,because they’re removing and it still has to be donesafely in a safe manner.The amount of asbestos it could vary. Our best insight is to getsomebody that’s an expert to identify exactly what you’ve got. That’s my opinion on that. – Okay. – Hopefully that answers this question. – Let me go one step furtherand have a follow-up question. Peter you might be able tohelp with this one as well. I’m a home owner, I’ve disturbed a wall, I’ve got a piece of whatI think might be asbestos. Can I take that somewhere and say, can you check this for me? I wanna know 100% for my peaceof mind before I proceed. – For sure, like the firstthing I would say is that if the building has beenrenovated or built before 1990, then you should assumethat there’s asbestos somewhere in the place.But the only way to know forsure is to have it tested. So if you’ve got a smallpiece, you can take it to, what we call a NATA accredited laboratory. So you just do a Googlesearch asbestos NATA, N-A-T-A laboratory and forbetween say $20 and $45 on average they will look at thepiece under a microscope and tell you if itcontains asbestos or not. Peace of mind, if it contains asbestos you can make a decision then as to what you’re going to do. No asbestos, then you can move on safely that you’re not gonna put yourself at risk of particularly mesothelioma.- Peter, roughly how long would that take? I mean, if I took it in on Monday would I have the resultby Wednesday or Friday? – NATA labs would do it that day or have it to you the next day. A lot of laboratories,I know we’re a big State and you can actually legallypost a sample to a laboratory. You’ll phone up a laboratory and they’ll tell you how to do it. You will actually contain thesample in two plastic bags and then seal it up in anenvelope and you can post it down. So yeah, if you send it by snail post then it takes quite a while. But when they get it,they’ll have the results. They’ll probably email you the results. – Yeah, I might bring the Sagers in here.If that was available during your time and you knew about it, that’s the first thing you would have done is maybe get a smallsample piece send it off and get it tested. – Absolutely. – That’s for sure. Ours was a brand new home and if we had of seen the warning signs but the panels were already fabricated so there was no way. If we had have realisedthat there was asbestos, if someone had said,well, this is asbestos even the builder before he left the site. – Yeah. – If he had of made us aware,then we would have tested it got someone in to do the right job. – I’ll get to anotherone of those questions, while I’ve got you here andwe’re talking about this, what do you say to the people who say testing is too expensive,it’s another cost. What a pain that is and who continue to take shortcuts and are putting people’s lives at risk. What do you say to them as someone whose world hasbeen turned upside down? – I probably can’t repeatwhat I would say to them.But I would like to say, Idon’t think you can put a cost on your family’s health and safety. We’re all too eager to spend money on ancillary things thatwe don’t necessarily need or we think we need. But what we need to do is keep our family and our loved ones safe and secure. And this is the beginning. It’s hard and it might meanthat the job that you do doesn’t get started for a little while.From our perspective we’ve got bathrooms that need to be redone. They need to have theasbestos taken out of them. We just can’t do that at this point. So bathrooms just don’t get redone. We’d rather have safe environmentand leave it like it is until it needs to beredone professionally. – From your word, youcan’t be too overcautious. – And in the back of yourmind you should be thinking, okay, I’m doing this job,but who else am I affecting? It’s not just someoneelse might be contacted. If I become sick, whatis my family going to do with the rest of their life? – What’s the impact ithas on everybody else? And it may not affect theperson that’s doing the work. It may affect the personwho’s washing the clothes.It may affect the personthat stands beside them. It’s all of those tiny littlethings that you don’t think. My grandbabies, no way, man. Yeah, it’s hard and it’s hardto have those conversations with people who’ve say… And I’ve had them when they say, I’ve been doing this 50years it doesn’t affect me. And I want to say, Ihope it never affects you but there’s a chance it mayaffect somebody you love.- This is a question that I’veseen on the screen for a while. It comes from Olivia andit’s aimed at you and Don. And she says, thank youfor sharing your story. What do you do to remember Adam? – We talk about him often. When he first took his littlejourney, it used to be hourly. Now it’s daily or weekly. There is a chair thathas Adam’s name on it at the Mount Coota Botanical Gardenoutside the Japanese Garden which was his favouriteplace apart from the Regatta. And we go to both spots. We visit that chair frequently. On the day that Adam passed we have what’s called Adam’s day. And we listen to bad musicand tell bad stories. And we do this. This allows us to shareAdam with the world.And as much as he was a bit of a rat bag he was very socially conscious. And this is what we do. – Well, if I can join youone year for Adam’s day I can tell some bad dad jokes then. – Right. – Thanks, this question again to you guys, such a tragic story I’d like to know what happened to your son. Why did you become a safety advocate without going through all the details? ‘Cause we’ve been through thisalready in our presentation. And what do you do as a safety advocate? Explain your role. You know, we’ve seen a littlebit of what you do here today, but if you could just tell us the passion that drives you every day in this role. – We’re fortunate enoughto be able to do this. We share Adam’s story. There is a 16 minute film that outlines basically from wo to go with his world. And our job is to share what could happen and the impact that it hason families and loved ones if you don’t take carewith what your working with. And it’s not meant to frighten people.It’s not meant to say thisis what’s going to happen, it’s just a brief picture ofwhat actually could happen and how it does affect yourfamily and your loved ones. What we actually do iswe go to workplaces, we go to TAFE colleges,we go to universities, we go wherever people ring and say, we’d like you to come and talkto our staff or our trainees. And we just show them that. And we chat to them aboutour life and what its done and where it’s taken usand what we want them to do and how it’s their responsibility to look after themselves and notleave it to anybody else. As the young trainees, if they see something thatthey don’t think is right they need to put their hand up and say, I’m not happy with this. And I don’t want this to happen to me. – With all the years thatwe have been doing the talks and presentations, we’restill finding people, I don’t know whether it’snaive, we definitely were naive.But the younger people coming through aren’t either being trained orjust think they bullet proof. And it’s those young peoplewhere you need to get across because they’re goingto transfer it forward. The older supervisors. Yes, they’ve been through the year where they’ve worked with it. And at the moment, don’t thinkthat they’re in any trouble but we don’t know, it canhappen any at any moment. – All right, let’s geta question from Patrick. And Patrick ask if ACM iscontained I.e fully painted walls, can high pressure water blasters be used? – Well, no they can’t.It’s black and white in thelegislation, it’s illegal. Even if it’s painted, you cannot use high pressure water on an asbestos containing material. The risk of the materialbeing broken down, even if it’s painted andmaking fibres airborne, or putting dust anddebris around to expose people who live next doorwhen they mow the lawn and mow through theasbestos containing material is just too high. So the parliament has put in the law you can not use high pressure water on asbestos containingmaterial, full stop. – While you’re under themicroscope at the moment, this is from Paul. And he’d like to knowit’s a two fold question. Do building and pestinspections cover asbestos? Like when we’re gettingan inspection done. And is there any risk tothe occupants of a home that is likely to contain asbestos I.e built before the nineties,if no renovations are done. So the asbestos is notbeing disturbed as such. – Okay, well buildingand pest inspections, by law they don’t include anasbestos assessment or survey. It doesn’t mean that someone who does building and pest inspectionscan’t do an asbestos survey, they have to be competent to do it.So possibly there are people out there who see the opportunityto do a building pest and asbestos inspection, but they have to be competentin all those three areas for obvious reasons. Well to properly be ableto identify asbestos you’d have to work in theindustry for many years. So you’d have to havethat industry experience. And that’s the key. I mean, legislation doesn’t say you have to work in theasbestos industry for 10 years to be a competent person, but that’s really the onlyway you can be competent. – What about thenon-disturbance of asbestos. – If the asbestos containingmaterial is in good condition then I’m a certifiedoccupational hygienist. And I operate in the area of doing and looking at air monitoring results. And it’s quite clear that,air monitoring done inside houses where the asbestoscontaining material is in good condition, it’s very difficult to actually measure asbestos fibres in the air.And to measure even thelowest concentration you need electron microscope. So there’s such a low concentration and the concentration is at or less than what we call the environmentalbackground asbestos exposure. Because over the lastcentury, we’ve dug up, mined and milled, made newasbestos containing materials installed them and now we’restarting to remove them. Volcanic eruptions put naturally occurring asbestos into the air. So we all actually breathein an extremely low level of asbestos every day.So we can’t say zero risk, but extremely, very, very low risk if the asbestos containing material is in good condition in your house. – Yep, Peter thank you. Let’s bring in Dustin one for you, Dustin. This is from Peter from Townsville. And he asked, what do we doif we have to work on a site that has asbestos inthe ceiling of the shop. The staff will stop work onsite as it is an old ceiling with a new one installed under. But if they have broken the old ceiling to get the wiring through it’s been tested and it’s active asbestos. So there’s a scenario for you. What are we doing? – I’ll just discuss with a professional and as a professional asbestos worker and make sure the area’scontained appropriately. If the removal works have to be done, I would be encouraging engagement of an appropriately licenced removalist.And if it’s over 10 squaremetres of bonded asbestos then definitely youwould be required to use appropriately licenced removalist or if the material is friable at all. So definitely stop work and have the area evaluatedby a professional. – Great advice, thank you. Let’s move on to our next question. This is from Sandra. How do I, as a home owner, make sure that any past asbestos removal cleaning has been done properly, Stephen.- Removed, like there’s been some removal that’s already occurred at the property? – I wanna clean upwhat’s been left behind. – All right, so it’swhoever’s done the work should have actually had a H class or hazardous class industrial vacuum which fitted with a HEPA filtered vacuum that has to be vacuum firstand then followed by wet wiping is the correct method. The homeowner should not be doing that, it should be a licenced personshould be doing that clean up. – And as the homeowner how doI know that’s all being done? How do I do it? Is it pristine… – They should actually havea clearance certificate. And depending on the removal that happened or what type of work has been occurred so that it could have been an A-class. If it’s an A class it shouldhave done some air monitoring and they should have aclearance certificate.Bonded removal should bea clearance certificate. Okay, so they should have some sort of clearances certificates. – Okay, thank you. And this looks like itmight be our last question and it comes from Warren. And it says, this is probablyone of those dumb questions. Warren, when it comes to safety, there are no dumb questionslet me guarantee you, that needs to be asked. So what can the industrydo to improve practises of all building companiesfrom large to small when it comes to asbestos? Pet, you might wanna jump into this one. – Yeah, for sure. There’s a great opportunityfor industry and businesses to partner with WHSQ to get information out to all building companies. You know, there’s opportunitiesfor industry groups within the buildingindustry to promote webinars such as the one today. The Asbestos Unit and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland in general do a lot ofeducational type programmes. We actually have on ourwebsite, a training site.And we’ve broken all the information down into learning objectives. And then we’ve got the linksto the videos, etc. And they are designed so that in industry you can do a toolbox talk oryou can bring your crew in to do some training in thedonga on the construction site. And then indeed, as we moveinto the really hot weather, there may be times when we decided well, we’re not gonna workat this time of the day, so let’s go do some training.So let’s go into theair conditioning donga on the construction siteand let’s go into the Workplace Health andSafety Queensland website. And let’s go to the training site and let’s do some toolbox talks and let’s have a chat about andlet’s improve our knowledge. – And also on that note Peter,we touched on it before I do a lot of prosecution media releases trying to get out whatpeople have done wrong. And this is more aboutgetting the message out of what not to do.And what happens if you do something that is wrong, isn’t it? Well, we don’t really wantto do that as the regulator, but we’ve got to get the message out. Don’t do the wrong thing. – And look on our website,, there’s a link which willtake you to a summary of our prosecutions, our infringements and our licenced sanctions. And there’s a story there asto what the employer did wrong and why they actually got that sanction. And that’s a good thingto read through as well because there’s some lessonslearned for you moving forward. – Well, thank you everyonefor joining us today. First of all, on behalf ofWorkplace Health and Safety, I’d like to say thanks to our presenters. Don and Julie, thank you for joining us and sharing your story. Luckily, I haven’t hadto use the tissues yet, but it’s not far off. To Stephen and Dustin who joinedus remotely, thank you guys.Appreciate your help and your perspective when it comes to safety around asbestos. And to you too Peter,thank you for joining us. Some great advice given out today. Please follow it, don’t takeshortcuts, don’t compromise. We know what happens or whatcan happen if you do shortcuts and don’t do the right thing. And please as Peter hassaid on numerous occasions, visit access resources and other guidance material tolearn more about asbestos. Today’s session was recorded. So you can watch it again orshare it with your friends and colleagues at we’ll email you a feedback survey and we would really value your feedback. Give us some suggestionson what you’d like to see in the future, what you enjoyed, what perhaps you didn’t like,maybe you didn’t like the MC. I’m happy to hear your feedback. Please send those inonce you get the email. And again on behalf of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, thanks for joining us today. I hope you’ve enjoyedour session on asbestos. And remember please besafe, no compromising. And if in doubt, get anexpert in, thank you. (upbeat music).


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